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With overwhelming majority MEPs urge Turkey for swift release of Greek soldiers

With overwhelming majority the European Parliament approved in favor a resolution calling on Turkey to swiftly complete the judicial process and release the two Greek soldiers in high security prison of Edirne since March 1st and without raised charges.

607 out of a total 632 present MEPs voted in favor of the resolution, 7 against while 18 abstained.

The resolution makes reference to the Human Rights Charta of the EU that “everyone arrested should be immediately informed in language he understand son the charges.

The MEPs stress that the two Greek soldiers have been held in a Turkish prison for more than one month without charges being brought against them, unaware of the crime of which they are accused. Previous cases of similar accidental border crossings by either Greek or Turkish soldiers were settled in the past on the spot and at the level of local military authorities on both sides.

The European Parliament calls on the Turkish authorities to “swiftly conclude the judicial process and release the two Greek soldiers and return them to Greece” and to “scrupulously follow legal proceedings and fully respect, for all those concerned, the human rights enshrined in international law, including the Geneva Convention”.

The text calls on the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service and all EU member states to “show solidarity with Greece” and to call for the immediate release of the two Greek soldiers in any contacts or communication with Turkish leaders and authorities, in the spirit of international law and good neighbourly relations.

The Resolution

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the arrest on 1 March 2018 and continued detention by the Turkish authorities of two Greek soldiers who stated that they lost their way in bad weather,

–  having regard to the fact that that particular part of the border, in the forest area of Kastanies along the Evros/Meri? River, is a major crossing point for migrants, refugees and traffickers, and that the lieutenant and sergeant in question were on a regular patrol tour of the border,

–  having regard to the calls from EU and NATO officials for the soldiers’ release, not least from the European Council on 22 March 2018 and during the EU-Turkey Leaders’ Meeting of 26 March 2018,

–  having regard to the Greek Government’s efforts to secure the release and return of the soldiers,

–  having regard to Article 5(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that ‘Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him’,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 4 March 2018 a Turkish court in Edirne ruled that the two soldiers, who are currently being held in maximum security detention and are accused of illegally entering Turkey, would continue to be detained;

B.  whereas the two Greek soldiers have been held in a Turkish prison for more than one month without charges being brought against them, leaving them unaware of the crime of which they are accused;

C.  whereas previous cases of similar accidental crossings of the border by either Greek or Turkish soldiers were settled in the past on the spot at the level of the local military authorities of both sides;

1.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to swiftly conclude the judicial process and release the two Greek soldiers and return them to Greece;

2.  Calls on the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service and all EU Member States to show solidarity with Greece and call for the immediate release of the two Greek soldiers in any contacts or communications with Turkish leaders and authorities, in the spirit of international law and good neighbourly relations;

3.  Calls 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;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Turkish and Greek Presidents, Governments and Parliaments, the European External Action Service, the Commission, the competent authorities of the Member States and NATO.ep, ape

In contrast of the resolution draft two days ago, the European Palriament resolution did not call for sanctions to Turkey.

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One comment

  1. Who were the seven who voted against? And why? How can any member of the European Parliament vote against a resolution calling for the return of EU citizens held in Turkey for nothing more than losing their way?