MEPs’ Vote to Free Greek Soldiers a ‘Slap’ to Erdogan

A Greek MEP has described the European Parliament’s overwhelming support for a call to release two Greek soldiers from a Turkish prison as a “loud slap to the Erdogan leadership”.

SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis was tweeting after European lawmakers voted 607-7 (with 18 abstentions) on Thursday for a resolution demanding the swift freeing of Lieutenant Angelos Mitretodis and Sergeant Dimitris Kouklatzis.

The pair were jailed after mistakenly crossing the Turkish land border on March 1; they have since been held in maximum security in a prison in Edirne (Andrianoupolis).

Papadimoulis, who is also vice-president of the European Parliament, said: “We continue to unite the fight until our two children come home.”

The resolution before the European Parliament said the “lieutenant and sergeant in question were on a regular patrol tour of the [Greek] border” — rejecting some Turkish allegations of military espionage.

It also called on the Turkish authorities to “scrupulously follow legal proceedings and fully respect, for all those concerned, the human rights enshrined in international law, including the Geneva Convention”.

All EU member states are also called on to show solidarity with Greece and call for the freeing of the two men when in contact with Turkish leaders and authorities.