Tsipras rejects Erdoğan’s proposal to exchange soldiers

The office of the prime minister Alexis Tsipras issued a press release on Sunday describing Turkish president Erdoğan’s proposal to exchange the two Greek soldiers with the eight Turkish servicemen “unacceptable”, Greek daily Kathimerini reported

“Concerning reports of an exchange, or the equation of the issue of the two Greek soldiers with other issues, we emphasise once again that it is unacceptable and therefore rejected,” the press release said. 

The statement also noted that the Greek government would keep the positive elements of Erdoğan’s statements on Saturday regarding establishing peace in the Aegean and dialogue between two countries. 

Turkey has requested from Greece the extradition of the eight servicemen to face trial for taking part in the coup. Turkey claims those soldiers are members of the Gülen movement, a religious group Turkey accuses of orchestrating the coup attempt in July 2016 and names as the terrorist organisation FETÖ. Turkey detained two Greek soldiers in March after they crossed the border in bad weather.

"They (Greece) ask us to give back the Greek soldiers and we told them 'if you make such a demand, you should first give us FETÖ soldiers involved in a coup against our state'," Erdogan said yesterday during an interview on NTV television.