Kouvelis rules out soldier swap

Kouvelis rules out soldier swap

Greece’s alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis on Thursday ruled out the idea that two Greek border guards detained in Turkey since March be exchanged for eight Turkish officers who have sought asylum in Greece.

In comments made during a visit to the island of Kassos, on the anniversary of a 1824 massacre by the Ottomans, Kouvelis said that the government would continue its diplomatic efforts to release the two soldiers who were arrested after accidentally crossing the border in bad weather.

Kouvelis said diplomatic pressure was directed at the European Union, as well as the United States and Russia – “and anyone with the influence to ensure their release.”

He said their ongoing detention was a “barbarous violation of the rule of law,” adding that no charges have officially been brought against them.

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