by Aggelos Skordas
Greece’s former Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Manousos Paragioudakis expressed his belief that the two Greek army officers currently imprisoned in Edirne were ambushed rather than captured after crossing the borders with Turkey in the Evros region. As he said on Thursday during an interview with Skai TV, the arrest of the second lieutenant and the sergeant was a “set up”, orchestrated by the Turkish special forces.
Moreover, the honorary Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff underlined that such incidents are significantly frequent at the frontier, as patrols from both sides unintentionally cross the borders but the incidents are “resolved on the spot”, after direct communication between the local Greek and Turkish military commanders. As he said, there have never been arrests in the past after such incidents.
In addition, Paragioudakis questions the Turkish scenario that the two Greek army officers walked for 250 meters into Turkish soil. “From the moment the two officers did not return immediately, the case becomes complicated. Since the incident was not resolved within the first hours, we have become entangled… It is impossible they have been captured by simple Turkish soldiers. It must have been another force, trained to do this, special units which had been prepared to capture Greek military men. They were acting on orders”, Paragioudakis characteristically explained.
Comparing the incident with other “hot” encounters between the two countries’ forces at sea Paragioudakis pointed out that “at sea, it is easy to ram a ship, in Evros, it is not easy”. As he said, “there is an informal practice that you do not proceed with arrests”, thus, he concluded, “I believe the incident was set up”. Finally, he said that the fact that the servicemen were not returned within the first hours of their detention serious complications might occur.
The two Greek army officers arrested and imprisoned last Thursday after crossing borders with Turkey 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 the Turkish court announced.