Tsipras Says Captive Greek Soldiers a ‘Wound’ for NATO on the Eve of Erdogan Meeting

The issue of two Greek soldiers being held in a Turkish jail will be raised directly by Alexis Tsipras when he meets Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.

Thursday’s meeting will take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit being held in Brussels.

Scheduled for 2.30 p.m. local time, the meeting will see the fate of Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis discussed face-to-face by the two men.

On Wednesday, Tsipras described the detainment of two Greek soldiers by Turkey, a fellow NATO member, as a “wound” for the western alliance.

“It is a wound for all of NATO the unprecedented fact that two soldiers from a NATO country are being detained by another NATO country for more than four months because they passed a few meters into its territory by mistake and without any charges laid against them,” Tsipras said and called on Turkey to help the wound heal by returning the two soldiers.

The two soldiers have been held in Edirne since accidentally crossing the border into Turkey in early March this year. A full indictment has yet to be produced by Turkish judges, and Athens has been angered at attempts to link this case with that of eight Turkish ex-soldiers who fled to Greece after the July 2016 coup attempt.

Yesterday, European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said it was vital EU states show solidarity with Greece over the case.

Mogherini made the statement in a letter sent to the head of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister on July 5.

“It is therefore vital to continue to showing solidarity with Greece and issuing concerted calls on the Turkish side for the immediate release of the soldiers, either publicly or in bilateral contacts,” Mogherini wrote.