Turkey releases two Greek soldiers pending trial

A Turkish court ruled on Tuesday the release of two Greek officers that had been detained since March for entering a military zone in Turkey on the border with Greece.

The Edirne court did not impose any restrictive travel measures on the two men, which means they will be allowed to return to Greece. They are expected to return on Wednesday.

In Tuesday’s court hearing, the two Greek officers and their lawyers sought their immediate release on the grounds that an examination of the digital devices held by the two men failed provide show any signs espionage.

The two Greek officers told the court they had entered Turkey by mistake, following footprints which they had located on the Greek side.

The prosecutor then informed the court that the time they had been detained for is in line with a possible sentence for illegally entering a military zone. The judge agreed there is no evidence of espionage, deciding they will only face charges of illegally entering a military zone.

In a tweet shortly after the news, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said “the release of the two Greek military officers is an act of justice, which will help to strengthen friendship, good neighborly ties and stability in the region.”

“I would like to congratulate and thank our two officers and their families for their courage, patience and confidence in the efforts of all of us, which were ultimately justified,” he added.

President Prokopis Pavlopoulos described on Tuesday the release of the two servicemen by Turkey as a basic act of justice and a path that Turkey should continue on.

“It shows the path that Turkey can and should follow in order to restore the climate of friendship and good neighborly ties with Greece, that has proven that it always moves in this direction,” said the president.

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