PM: No connection between Greek soldiers, Turkish servicemen


Greece sees no connection between the two Greek soldiers detained in Turkey and the eight Turkish servicemen that Ankara wants extradited, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Thursday.

Tsipras was speaking after a two-hour meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.

Tsipras told reporters he had emphasized the distinction between the two issues to Erdogan, adding that the Greek judiciary is independent.

He added that the continued detention of the Greek soldiers, who have been in prison in Edirne since early March after accidentally crossing the border into the neighboring country in bad weather, was not honorable for NATO-member Turkey. 

Talks between the two leaders, the Greek premier said, also focused on Cyprus, migration and tension in the Aegean.

Tsipras said the two sides agreed to promote measures to de-escalate tension in the Aegean.

Speaking to NATO leaders on Wednesday, Tsipras said that “the unprecedented fact that two NATO soldiers have been detained by another NATO country for more than four months because they accidentally crossed into its territory, without even being charged, is an open wound for NATO,” and called on Ankara to “heal the wound with the immediate return of the two soldiers.”