Mar 07 2018

Turkey demands Greece arrest flag-burners – report

Turkey’s foreign ministry on Wednesday demanded that Greece arrest people who burned a Turkish flag at a rally in Athens this week.

"We strongly condemn the burning of our flag during a rally against Turkey organized by a racist political party in Athens on March 5”, the foreign ministry said in a written statement, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

"We demand that the Greek authorities arrest the perpetrators, who committed this heinous act against our flag, and bring them to justice as soon as possible.”

Political and military tensions between Greece and Turkey have increased in recent months after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the re-negotiation of the two countries’ borders and a Turkish patrol boat hit a Greek coastguard vessel in the Aegean. Turkey is also holding two Greek soldiers on espionage charges after they crossed its border. A Turkish court refused their release on Monday. Greece has also failed to hand over Turkish soldiers suspected of involvement in the July 2016 failed coup.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also criticised statements regarding Turkey and its territorial integrity by Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Anadolu said.

“We invite President Pavlopoulos to respect international law and our borders, and to refrain from a rhetoric which is not befitting his position, and that could cause unnecessary tension,” Aksoy said.

On Tuesday, the Greek press reported Pavlopoulos as saying: "We might not have the territory that we should have had historically… If history compels us, we will do what our ancestors had done”, Anadolu said.