International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Turkish court releases two Greek soldiers

A Turkish court has released two Greek soldiers who were arrested in Turkey, pending trial.

Lieutenant Aggelos Mitretodis and non-commissioned officer Dimitros Kouklatzis were detained on March 2, 2018 at a military zone in the western Turkish province of Edirne’s Pazarkule district, which hosts a border gate with Greece.

A local court in Edirne ruled for their arrest and refused the two soldiers' subsequent pleas for release, citing suspicions of illegal entry and attempted military espionage.

The soldiers told the prosecutors shortly after their arrest that they mistakenly crossed the border after getting lost in the fog.

The Turkish court held its monthly hearing Aug. 14, 2018 on whether to release the soldiers from custody.

According to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, the judge ruled for the two soldiers' release, pending trial. They have not yet been indicted.

The arrest of the soldiers had strained bilateral ties between Ankara and Athens, who are already at loggerheads over the exploration of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

The court decision comes weeks after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan met in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO summit and agreed to focus on efforts to reduce tensions in the Aegean.

Source: Anadolu Agency


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