by Aggelos Skordas
The two Greek army officers arrested and imprisoned last Thursday after crossing borders with Turkey, due to bad weather conditions, will remain in custody in Edirne as the court rejected the appeal for their release submitted by their lawyers on Monday. The decision on the fate of the second lieutenant and the sergeant of the Greek army will be postponed until later this week the Turkish court announced.
Despite their defense counsel appeal, the public prosecutor must now present the charges against them, which will either be accepted or rejected by the court, and a date for the trial will be set. The reason the appeal was rejected is that the two do not have a permanent residence in the area. In addition, Turkish media indicate that the search of the footage found in their phones has not been completed yet. The court ordered the pair to be charged with “attempted military espionage” and “entering a forbidden military territory,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported, a scenario the Greek side is hoping to be avoided. Although, Greek media report that no espionage charges will be pressed against the two.
On their behalf, the two servicemen told the court that they were disorientated due to bad weather conditions and unintentionally crossed the frontier with Turkey during a routine patrol. On Monday, relatives of the two arrived in Edirne and were permitted to visit them in jail. Reportedly, they are in good health.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias made a statement regarding the arrest of two officers. During a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Christodoulides following a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, Kotzias underlined that “Turkey ought to apply the provisions of International Law and not turn a routine procedure into a major legal and political problem”.
The Greek servicemen were patrolling by the only land borderline between the two countries in a heavily forested region, near Kastanies, last Thursday when they crossed the borders with Turkey due to bad weather conditions. After encountering a Turkish patrol unit, the officers were taken to the provincial gendarmerie command in Edirne and remain in custody since.