x

Society

Patriarch’s Envoy Brings Easter Visit to Greek Soldiers Held in Turkey

April 9, 2018

Five weeks into being held in Turkey – after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ office said they would have been swiftly returned – two Greek soldiers facing charges after accidentally crossing the border were to have a visit by an envoy from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, whose office is in Constantinople.

The Metropolitan of Adrianoupolis Amphilochios was dispatched for the meeting, Bartholomew said, after delivering his message for Orthodox Easter.

Bartholomew, who is the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, said Amphilochios will express the Church’s support and its wish for their swift return to their families and duties, said Kathimerini.

The Church received permission from the the Turkish authorities after several days of efforts, he said. “We have been waiting for this response from Ankara for many days and we are delighted it came with the Resurrection. We express our joy and our emotion,” he said.

The soldiers are being held in a prison in Edirne and so far have been charged with illegal entry but there are fears that espionage counts could be added to up the pressure on Greece to return eight Turkish soldiers seeking asylum after fleeing a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, 2016 in which they said they took no part.

The anti-nationalist Tsipras, head of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party, had tried being delicate over the issue but with Erdogan also provoking tensions in the Aegean, called him a a “sultan,” as did Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who said the Greek soldiers are being held as hostages and bargaining chips to force the return of the Turkish soldiers.

Major rival New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke of the Greek soldiers and said that, “I urge them to find strength in their faith and in the support they have from all of us. They will soon be with us again,” speaking from the island of Tinos where was spending the Easter holiday.

The families of Angelos Mitretodis and Dimitris Kouklatzis were allowed to visit the soldiers at the prison in Edirne where they are being held, while their parents also met with officials and lawyers at the Greek Consulate to be briefed on the latest developments regarding the case, the paper said.

Apart from hoping for the best, Tsipras and Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis, who has no experience in the field, said efforts were being made for their return but would not say what they were amid reports the men could face 15 years in jail.

“unacceptable”, adding that they cannot possibly be “traded” with Greek justice decisions.

In an interview with the Ethnos newspaper, Kouvelis said that “having a firm position that the unacceptable holding of our two military officials is neither offset or traded with the decisions of the independent Greek justice, we seek their return to Greece.”

He added that, “Greece is a country of peace and this is what it wants to be promoted in the region,” but also “at the same time it can with sufficiency and preventive force protect its sovereign national rights.”

In another interview in the same newspaper, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, who promised the men would be returned within a couple of days after they were taken into custody on March 1 said that “the Greek government is applying political and diplomatic pressure for the quickest possible settlement of the issue,” but didn’t say what it was.

RELATED

ATHENS - Greece’s push to get more electric vehicles on the roads, which will offer subsidies to buy them and set up more charging stations, will be applied to taxis as well in the capital and the country’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Amyntaio, a TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis

Dear readers, let me briefly introduce myself, while wishing you "a summer full of positive energy and good health.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.