Jul 18 2018

EU’s Turkey ambassador visits jailed Greek soldiers

The European Union’s ambassador to Turkey, Christian Berger, visited the two Greek soldiers imprisoned in the country since being arrested on Turkish territory in March, Greek news site Kathimerini reporter on Wednesday.

Greece insists second lieutenant Angelos Mitroudis and sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis strayed onto Turkish territory accidentally during bad weather, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has accused Turkey of holding the soldiers as bargaining chips.

Berger’s meeting with the pair, who have been held without charge since their capture, reportedly lasted two hours, during which he conveyed the support of the EU.

Greek concerns over the soldiers’ fate rose after reports emerged that a Turkish prosecutor had told a court on Tuesday they had entered a restricted Turkish military zone, a charge which precludes a pre-trial release for the soldiers and could carry a two-year prison sentence.

Discussing the soldiers, Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos accused Turkish authorities of “playing with peoples’ lives” on Wednesday, according to Kathimerini.