NEWS

Two jailed Greek soldiers to be reassigned posts in Turkey

TAGS: Diplomacy, Justice

Bidding for the release of the two Greek soldiers who have been held without charge in Turkey since March, the government will push for a legislative amendment in Parliament in the coming days that will assign them to a post in the neighboring country.

Turkish courts have so far rejected three appeals for the release of the two soldiers from pre-trial detention on the grounds that they do not have a permanent residence in the country and therefore are considered a flight risk.

As a result the two men have been held in custody in a high-security prison in the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne pending their trial.

Turkish judges have yet to set a trial date.

In comments on Wednesday to state-run ERA radio, Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis said the amendment will also secure that the two men, Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis, will receive the wages of servicemen posted in a foreign country.

The Greek soldiers were arrested after accidentally straying into Turkish territory in early March, during a routine border patrol in bad weather.

However, hopes for their release remain slim given that Turkey is embroiled in a heated election campaign that has included rhetoric against Greece over its refusal to extradite eight Turkish servicemen that Ankara wants to put on trial over their alleged role in the coup attempt there in 2016.

Ankara has accused Greece of providing refuge to “terrorists” and has warned that the issue will impact relations between the two countries.

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