Letter links fate of Greek soldiers in Turkey to that of Turkish officers in Greece


A letter sent by the head of Turkey’s delegation to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, Ahmet Berat Conkar, to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani tacitly links the fate of two Greek soldiers detained in Turkey in early March to that of eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece in the wake of the 2016 botched coup.

The letter, which was published by Greece's Ta Nea daily on Friday, is dated May 31 and takes issue with “the unpleasant approach of the Greek authorities about the eight putschists and European Parliament’s insincerity regarding the issue.”

The complaint came after all eight of the Turkish officers who are wanted by Ankara for their alleged role in the attempted overthrow were granted release from pretrial detention in Greece and placed in protective custody pending decisions on their applications for political asylum. Three of the eight have since been granted protection.

“We are deeply disappointed by the several rulings of the Greek judiciary that denied extradition,” Conkar said, referring to concerns expressed by Greek authorities that the officers may not receive a fair trial if they are returned to Turkey.

The letter then goes on to refer to Greek Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis who were arrested after accidentally straying into Turkish border while on border patrol in northern Greece during a storm in early March, stressing that they were “detained in the Turkish Military Zone.”

“I would like to conclude by stating that, Turkish authorities and Turkish society expects the extradition of [the] eight murderers immediately and we assure you that two Greek soldiers detained will receive a fair trial in Turkey,” Conkar said.