Jul 11 2018

Greek soldiers jailed in Turkey an “open wound” for NATO – Greek PM

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras used his address at the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday to criticise Turkey for its detention of two Greek soldiers since early March, a situation that he called an “open wound” for the alliance.

“The unprecedented fact that two NATO soldiers have been detained by another NATO country for more than 4 months because they accidentally crossed into its territory, without even being charged, is an open wound for NATO,” Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted Tsipras as saying.

The two Greek soldiers were arrested in early March when they were discovered on Turkish territory, and have been held without being formally charged since. Greece insists the soldiers strayed across the border accidentally due to bad weather, and Tsipras has accused Turkey of holding the pair as “hostages” to gain leverage over Greece.

Turkish courts have rejected several appeals for the soldiers’ release pending trial on the grounds that their lack of a settled address in Turkey makes them a flight risk.

Tsipras also raised what he called “provocative actions” in the Aegean Sea by Turkey.

An old dispute between Greece and Turkey over islands in the Aegean Sea has flared up again this year, resulting in a marked increase in confrontations between the two countries’ air and naval forces.