A Turkish court has arrested two Greek soldiers who were detained after crossing the border into northwestern Turkey on Friday, inadvertently they claim, on espionage charges for spying across the border and sending records on their phones to their superiors.
Lt. Aggelos Mitretodis and Sgt. Dimitros Kouklatzis were interrogated by authorities, after which the court arrested them. The soldiers were said to have lost their way at the border until they came across local Turkish patrol units.
The soldiers, who were detained near the Pazarkule district, said bad weather had led to their getting lost. After encountering the patrol units, the soldiers were taken to the provincial gendarmerie command in Edirne.
Meanwhile, Greece expects Turkey to swiftly return the two soldiers detained after they mistakenly strayed into Turkish territory during a border patrol, its government spokesman said on Friday, according to a report by Reuters.
The two Greek soldiers were on patrol at the country’s northeastern border with Turkey and were detained by Turkish forces after they were spotted in Turkish territory due to poor weather conditions, Greece’s army command said on Friday.
“We are in consultation with Turkish authorities for a prompt resolution of the matter,” Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told reporters. “Legal processes in Turkey will be put in motion swiftly and we expect the return of the two Greeks to our country,” he said.
The incident took place during a normal patrol in the thickly forested area of Kastanies at Evros. However, it is understood that previous incidents have normally been resolved on the spot.
“Yesterday’s incident was the result of a mistake. The two Greek officers diverged from their route because of the bad weather in the area, and found themselves, I repeat, by mistake, in Turkish territory,” Tzanakopoulos said.
Tzanakopoulos said that after the arrest of the two Greeks stipulated legal procedures followed. “It’s a formality and concerns a trial for illegal entry to the country which will be concluded and we expect their return to our country,” he said.
Greece’s army command said earlier that from the first moment, Greek authorities were in contact with their Turkish counterparts and that procedures for the soldiers’ return to Greece were ongoing. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.