Turkish Soldiers Held in Greece ‘to be Released in May’



The eight Turkish servicemen who are detained in Greece will be released in May, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis announced on Monday.

The eight have requested political asylum after a July 2016 coup in Turkey and they are reaching the maximum detention of 18 months prior to a trial.

Kontonis said that Turkey has not requested their trial in Greece, therefore, “following the expiration of 18 months, which is coming up in May, there is no provision of extending their detention.”

Asked whether he is concerned about their possible abduction, the justice minister said, “I want to be clear: Everyone residing in Greece legally is not in any danger. How this case will develop and what kind of measures will be taken is not a present concern.”

Kontonis declined to comment on speculation that Turkey is linking the eight with the case of two Greek soldiers held in a Turkish jail.

Officially Ankara has said that the two cases are not linked.

However, in late March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to indirectly link the two cases.

After a meeting with EU leaders he was quoted by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet as saying:

“I explained to them [EU leaders] that it is not fair that those who are concerned about the two Greek soldiers have not shown [similar] concern about the Turkish soldiers who, after being involved in a coup in Turkey, then fled to Greece.”