Turkish FM Rules Out Prisoner Swap for Greek Soldiers

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (file photo)

Turkey’s foreign minister appears to have ruled out a prisoner swap in connection with two Greek junior officers currently in Turkish custody awaiting trial.

In an interview with German outlet Zeit Online, Mevlut Cavusoglu was asked about the eight Turkish ex-servicemen in Greek custody, wanted by Ankara in connection with the 2016 coup attempt:

“No, we do not want such a bargain. Moreover, we have captured the Greek soldiers on Turkish territory and not Greek. As for the pilots, we have asked Greece for their extradition some time ago.”

On Friday, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos described the two Greek soldiers as “hostages” of Turkey.

Cavusoglu also said he wanted the Turkish justice system to deal with the Greek soldiers who mistakenly crossed the border near the Evros river.

“I do not know… they have crossed the border illegally, and it is up to the prosecutors and judges who need to know what is behind this case; did it happen inadvertently, was it  deliberately? They want to be sure,” Cavusoglu said.

Meanwhile, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has reported that two German journalists were detained by Greek forces on the land border near Evros. Two pair apparently strayed into an off-limits military zone while researching a documentary about refugees.