Turkish Judges Again Refuse Release for Greek Soldiers

    (File photo)

    Sgt. Dimitris Kouklatzis and Lt. Angelos Mitretodis will stay in a Turkish prison after a court in Edirne (Adrianopolis) turned down a fourth request that the Greek soldiers be released from pre-trial custody.

    Tuesday’s decision followed a defense team bid to have to two men — held since accidentally crossing the Turkish border on March 2 — released from custody.

    All previous three appeals have been rejected on the grounds that they do not have permanent residence in Turkey and are therefore considered a flight risk.

    Last week, Greece’s government said it wanted to re-assign the two men in Turkey to give them legal protection.

    In comments to Greece’s ERA radio, Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis said parliament could assign them a ‘post’ in Turkey.

    This would see them be paid as officers serving overseas and could remove Turkish court objections to them being bailed. However, it seems the legal maneuver has failed.

    There has still been no trial date set, and a complete indictment has not yet been produced.

    Kouvelis said recently that the two servicemen’s imprisonment is part of an “unacceptable nationalist tactic” employed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the run-up to the country’s elections which take place on Sunday.