One month after two Greek army officers were imprisoned, after being captured at the Greek-Turkish border, the Greek government is demanding that Ankara state exactly on what charges they are being held.
“The Greek government is asking Turkey to make clear immediately the reason the officers are being held and are being denied the ability to return to their country, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a news conference today.
“For what reason, after nearly one month, have we not been apprised of the charges, and what is the reason for these delay tactics, which do not contribute to the normalisation of our relations and to the establishment of good neighbourly relations with the Turkey,” he said.
Asked about the proposal of MP Konstantinos Katsikis (which he quickly retracted) of the Independent Greeks Party, the junior partner in the coalition government, regarding an exchange of the two Greek officers for eight Turkish army officers seeking asylum in Greece, whose extradition Ankara is demanding, Tzanakopoulos said the Greek government’s position is clear, and that such an exchange is not an option.
Those extraditions have been definitively blocked by a ruling of the Greek Supreme Court, which judged that the officers could not be guaranteed a fair trial in Turkey.
Satisfaction with EU stance
Tzanakopoulos expressed the Greek government’s satisfaction with the results of the 26 March EU-Turkey summit in Varna, Bulagaria.
“It is obvious that there is a unanimous stance on the part of the European Union towards Turkish provocations in the Aegean and in Cyprus’ EEZ. There is a decisive message that these provocations must end immediately,” Tzanakopoulos said.
EU-Turkey migration agreement
As for the migration issue, the spokesman said that implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement is necessary for the effective management of refugee flows, and that Athens is taking necessary steps to transfer refugees and migrants from the island to other locations.