Tsipras says detained Greek soldiers are “hostages”

In a press statement following a meeting of European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has for the first time called two Greek soldiers detained in Turkey “hostages”.

“We face an issue on these two soldiers that could be solved in a day,” Tsipras said. “This issue was not solved and that makes us wonder. The two Greek soldiers were taken to a high security prison in Edirne and for 20 days have been jailed there without any advances in the process and without even knowing what they are accused of.”

“However quickly this problem is solved, our relations will return to where they ought to be that quickly,” he said. “Anyone who wants to turn a basic issue into a case of hostage conditions should think again.”

Tsipras added that his country was unafraid of potential incidents between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean and said that the European Union had sent a clear message to Turkey in its statement following the summit.

“If Turkey continues to act the provocateur, Turkey will not win, it will only lose,” he said.

He and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had explained to other EU leaders the issues they had been having with Turkey while searching for energy resources in Cypriot waters, he said.

“However far our neighbour (Turkey) seems to have gone in the opposite direction, Greece will continue to support Turkey’s EU membership process,” Tsipras said.

“But everyone must be very aware that Greece will defend its sovereign rights in the face of all types of threats and probing and is determined to defend them to the end.”