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After Turkey arrested two Greek soldiers last week after they crossed its northwestern border in bad weather, Greece Ministry of Defense decided to take new military measures, reports the BBC Turkish. Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos stated last week that two Greek soldiers were being detained in Turkey as ‘hostages’, reported Ahval (Turkey).
The number of Greek troops patrolling the border has been increased from 2 to 7. According to the instructions of the ministry, new tactics will be used in responding to similar events. The scope of those new tactics is unknown.
Meanwhile, in an interview with French daily Liberation on March 10, Kammenos said “Greece is very close to a fatal accident with Turkey”. Kammenos also noted that, up until now, events such as accidental border crossing were resolved between two countries’ general staffs. “The tension is being increased by the arrest of two soldiers. Yet, those are not only Greek soldiers, they are also EU and NATO soldiers and therefore this issue should have been peacefully resolved with our NATO ally Turkey,” said the defense minister.
In the same interview, Kammenos also warned that Turkey’s violations of Greek airspace and sea territory increases the risk of a potential military conflict:
“Greece is basically at the mercy of an accident that can at any moment engulf the coastguard, navy etc. With the violation of territorial waters and airspace, both Greek and European, Ankara is also trying to exert pressure on Europe. We are obliged to defend our territory, which is not only Greek but also European,” he said.
According to Kammenos, Turkeys violations of Greece’s sea territory have increased by 450 percent and violations of airspace by 48 percent in recent times.
Turkey’s foreign minister appears to have ruled out a prisoner swap in connection with two Greek junior officers currently in Turkish custody awaiting trial, reported Greek Reporter (US).
In an interview with German outlet Zeit Online, Mevlut Cavusoglu was asked about the eight Turkish ex-servicemen in Greek custody, wanted by Ankara in connection with the 2016 coup attempt:
“No, we do not want such a bargain. Moreover, we have captured the Greek soldiers on Turkish territory and not Greek. As for the pilots, we have asked Greece for their extradition some time ago.”
On Friday, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos described the two Greek soldiers as “hostages” of Turkey.
Cavusoglu also said he wanted the Turkish justice system to deal with the Greek soldiers who mistakenly crossed the border near the Evros river.
“I do not know… they have crossed the border illegally, and it is up to the prosecutors and judges who need to know what is behind this case; did it happen inadvertently, was it deliberately? They want to be sure,” Cavusoglu said.
Meanwhile, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has reported that two German journalists were detained by Greek forces on the land border near Evros. Two pair apparently strayed into an off-limits military zone while researching a documentary about refugees.
show source https://ahvalnews.com/greece-turkey/greece-increases-number-troops-patrolling-turkish-border http://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/03/10/turkish-fm-rules-out-prisoner-swap-for-greek-soldiers/