Coalition MP’s proposal for soldier exchange sparks outcry


An MP of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), Costas Katsikis, sought on Wednesday to clarify that he was talking “hypothetically” when he proposed, in comments to Skai TV earlier in the day, exchanging the two Greek soldiers currently being detained in Turkey for the eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece in 2016 and whom Ankara wants extradited.

Katsikis had said that the leadership of both countries could sidestep Greek and Turkish justice to make the exchange.

“Let’s be honest, this is where [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking the matter,” he said.

But his remarks triggered a wave of indignation within ANEL and from New Democracy, which said that he “is obviously overlooking” the fact that Greece is an EU country where the principle of the separation of powers is enshrined in the Constitution.

ANEL MP Dimitris Kammenos called on Katsikis to apologize to the families of the two soldiers. Turkish media reports picked up on the remarks, saying the Greeks are talking about an exchange “for the first time.”