Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may decide, following intense pressure, to release the two Greek soldiers who have been detained since early March after straying into Turkey’s territory in bad weather, Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis said on Thursday.
“It must not be ruled out that, at some point, following intense pressure, Mr Erdogan may decide to release and free them,” he reportedly told state-run radio station Praktorio.
“And I’m saying Mr Erdogan because, unfortunately, Turkish Justice is being manipulated, it is subservient to Mr Erdogan's political and party interests. It does not operate freely, like Greek Justice,” he continued.
Kouvelis cited the example of two Turkish citizens who were recently arrested at the port of Killini, in western Greece, and subsequently freed by an administrative court in the city of Pyrgos, after the judge accepted the Turkish consulate in Athens as their fixed residence.
Commenting on Turkey’s bellicose rhetoric towards Greece, he said it is unlikely to change after the country’s elections next year.
“Of course it will avoid crossing ‘red lines,’ regardless of the possibility that one of the usual incidents [in the Aegean] might turn into a ‘heated’ incident,” he said.