Mar 27 2018

Greek soldiers could face five year sentence

Two Greek soldiers captured in Turkey after they strayed across the border during a patrol may face charges with a possible sentence of five years, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Tuesday.

Greek officials insist that the two soldiers, who were captured in early March, had crossed the border after losing their way due to stormy weather conditions.

However, the soldiers have not been released, and reports arose soon after their arrest that they would be charged.

There is “concrete evidence” to support charges against the pair, according to unnamed sources quoted by Turkish state news agency Anadolu, who added that the sentence would be five years, without giving any more detail.

The news points to a marked lack of progress at Monday’s EU-Turkey summit in Varna, Bulgaria, where one of the top items on the agenda was the rising tension between Turkey and Greece.

The neighbours’ long-running dispute over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea were inflamed last December when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remarked during a visit to Athens that the Lausanne Treaty, which set borders between the two countries, was due for an “update”.

Turkey’s stubborn resistance to efforts by the Greek Republic of Cyprus to conduct gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has been another sticking point between the pair.