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PM Tsipras: “The Sultan” has to explain why Turkey has the two Greek soldiers still in detention

The Good Week started in Greece with the continuation of the war of words with neighboring Turkey, in new high tones. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a strong-worded response to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who for one more time linked the case of the two Greek soldiers with the eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after the failed coup of 2016.

“Greece is a state governed by the rule of law and has a prime minister who both respects and knows the processes of Greek justice, and not a Sultan who is in a position to make any promises to influence [judiciary] decisions,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement issued late on Sunday.

“If he wishes to be the head of a well administrated state, he has to explain why Turkey still detains the two Greek soldiers who did nothing more than walking a few meters into Turkish territory as part of their efforts to investigate possible illegal crossings,” the statement continued stressing that similar incidents in the past were handled on a basis of good will and cooperation between the two countries, which are members of the same military alliance.

On Sunday, Erdogan slammed Greece and the European Union for seeking the return of the two Greek soldiers.

Ankara is still waiting for the extradition of the 8 Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the failed coup in 2016, Erdogan underlined.

“You know, certain people tried to kill me and escaped to Greece,” the Turkish president told a crowd of supporters. “After that Tsipras told me the issue would be solved within 10-15 days. Months have passed and Tsipras has not dealt with the issue,” he added.

He slammed the EU that also asked for the soldiers’ release saying “we also have a rule of law, it is up to judiciary to decide” and added “you did nothing about these terrorists, you didn’t say anything about it to Mr Tsipras.”

Stressing that the two cases are entirely different from each other the Prime Minister’s office said Erdogan had the opportunity to discuss with Tsipras during his visit to Athens last December or even say it publicly while in the Greek capital.

Today, he chooses to continue an incomprehensibly slippery road of provocative attacks, comparing two completely different cases,” the Prime ministry statement added.

The Turkish president keeps provoking Greece and verbally attacking the EU. On Saturday, he visited in the company of a big crowd Hagia Sofia, the symbol of Greek orthodox Christianity.

He made the gesture of the Muslim Brotherhood and claimed the West has destroyed “our civilization” and “turned our mosques into stables.”

PS Greek PM’s office calls Erdogan a “sultan”? That’s a diplomatic faux pas and such descriptions normally used by Greek media and internet users have no place in an official statement.

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