ΝΑΤΟ Advises Greece, Turkey to Show ‘Calm and Restraint’



Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a joint speech in Athens, December 2017 (file photo).

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Greece and Turkey to show “restraint and calm”, after Ankara responded to the release from custody of the eight Turkish ex-soldiers accused of coup plotting by suspending a bilateral migrant readmission deal with Athens.

Ankara was angered by Monday’s decision by Greece’s highest court to release the last of the eight Turkish personnel seeking asylum. The former servicemen had applied for asylum after fleeing Turkey in a helicopter during the July 2016 coup attempt.

The Turkish government’s reply has been to suspend the refugee readmission agreement with Greece, according to which Athens could return to Turkey migrants and refugees who had crossed the Aegean to land on Greek shores.

The NATO secretary-general advised the two neighbors and NATO allies to tone down their statements.

Speaking to journalists following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) in the Defence Ministers’ session in Brussels, Stoltenberg said he discussed the ongoing feud with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Greek government.

“I think that my main message today is the importance of showing your restraint and calm, because it is important to try to solve these issues, and therefore restraint and calm is my most important message today,” Stoltenberg said.