Greece asks United Nations to demand Turkey release jailed Greek soldiers

PM Tsipras

PM Tsipras

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned against any attempts by Turkey to exploit the incident of the Greek soldiers who accidently strayed into Turkish territory and were subsequently arrested.

Tsipras made the statement during a government council meeting in Maximos Mansion on Tuesday where he noted the possibility of Turkey trying to exploit the incident for ‘other purposes’.

"It requires careful handling and patience. Turkey will understand sooner or later that any thought to take advantage of an ordinary border incident for other purposes is hopeless and will be detrimental to the country," he told ministers and officials, according to government sources.

The Greek PM also spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over the matter and the ongoing negotiation with FYROM on the name issue and also briefed him on the talks with the neighbouring country, as well as on Turkey's aggression in the Aegean and Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.

Tsipras asked Guterres to tell Turkey that the incident must be resolved swiftly and positively with the release and return of the soldiers to Greece.

Meanwhile main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the detention of the Greek soldiers by Turkey as unacceptable and demanded their release.

"The continued detainment of the two Greek servicemen by Turkish authorities is unacceptable and is poisoning Greek-Turkish relations,"

Mitsotakis explained that similar incidents have always occurred along the Greek-Turkish borders and had always been solved with good will from both sides.

He declared as unfounded any claims of espionage against the two soldiers and asked for their immediate and safe return to Greece, urging the ministers responsible to do, even belatedly, whatever was necessary for their custody in Turkey to end.

"Greece strives for good neighbourly relations with Turkey. Relations that are not only based on international law but also on the unwritten rules of mutual respect. Faced with similar provocations, Greeks have always been united, as we have proven in our long history. Nobody should have the slightest doubt that, if necessary, we have the determination, the international support and the strength to defend our national interests," he said.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.