Justice minister criticizes Turkey for handling of Greek soldiers’ detention

Justice minister criticizes Turkey for handling of Greek soldiers’ detention

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis expressed his dismay at the continued detention of two Greek servicemen who were arrested in early March for straying into Turkish territory during a border patrol, citing the lawful response of Greek authorities to similar cases involving three Turkish nationals.

“It is not just the case of the Turk who entered Greek territory and was tried,” he told parliament on Monday, referring to the Turkish municipal worker who was apprehended on the Greek side of the border near the village of Kastanies on May 2, charged with illegal entry and then deported on May 5.

Kontonis revealed that two more Turkish nationals who were detained recently at the port of Killini, in western Greece, were subsequently released by an administrative court in the city of Pyrgos, after the judge accepted the Turkish consulate in Athens as their fixed residence.

“I'm saying this to inform parliament and the public, to make it clear that Greece respects the rule of law. Because when the Greek consulate attended the trial of the two Greek officers and declared the Greek consulate […] as their place of residence, the similar request to release them was not accepted by the Turkish court,” he said, referring to the court ruling in Edirne.

“Greece upholds the rule of law and does not draw parallels between different illegal and irregular acts,” he said.

“This is a message, not only to the neighboring country, but also to the international community from which we expect a more stable attitude on the issue of the two Greek officers who, to this day, do not know what they are accused of,” he added.

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