Defence Minister Panos Kammenos will brief his colleagues in Brussels today about the circumstances surrounding the captivity of the two Greek army officers, who have been taken hostage by Turkish authorities while on patrol in the border region of Evros.
Kammenos today will brief both a meeting of Nato defence ministers and an informal meeting of EU defence ministers.
In his first public statement of the defence minister regarding the captivity of the two officers, Kammenos said that this is also an EU-Turkey issue.
Kammenos said that the capture of the officers in a border region, in other instances would have been quickly resolved through communication between the two sides’ commanders.
Kammenos also bemoaned the Turkish prosecutor’s refusal to allow the two officers to remain at the Greek Consulate in Edirne, where they have been jailed in a top-security prison.
“This is an issue that concerns the EU. The two Greek officers were conducting a patrol in an area where we have illegal entries of refugees and migrants and activities by traffickers, and they were following specific tracks, which they said would lead them to illegal aliens. In that context they passed a few metres into Turkish territory and were captured,” Kammenos said.
Kammenos said he has spoken with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and they agreed to place the captivity of the two Greek officers on the agenda of today’s meeting of EU defence ministers
“Turkey is a Nato member, an ally of Greece in Nato, and such incidents are resolved peacefully, through negotiations between the two countries’ armed forces,” Kammenos said.