Greek president welcomes release of soldiers in Turkey

By Magda Panoutsopoulou

ATHENS (AA) – President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Wednesday welcomed the release of two Greek soldiers pending trial by a Turkish court.

“The release of the two Greek servicemen was a basic act of justice by the Turkish authorities," Pavlopoulos said in a statement from the island of Karpathos.

Pavlopoulos said that "this happy development" shows the way Turkey should and can follow in order to restore friendly ties.

"We Greeks are aware of the Turkish people's problems. They are having difficult times and we know it," he added.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos also expressed his satisfaction at the soldiers’ release and extended an invitation to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.

“I hope that their release will be a new day in Greek-Turkish relations. We can live together peacefully, for the benefit of both our peoples," Kammenos said.

Lt. Aggelos Mitretodis and Sgt. Dimitros Kouklatzis were remanded in custody by a court in early March after they were detained near Pazarkule district of Turkey's northwestern Edirne province. According to the soldiers, they got lost due to bad weather and later came across local Turkish patrol units.

Turkish security sources said the Greek soldiers were accused of espionage and sending recordings on their smartphones to their superiors.