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Turkey slams Juncker over release of two Greek soldiers

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on April 26 rejected a statement by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the detention of two Greek soldiers in Turkey.  “With these remarks … EU authorities lose their credibility and reliability day by day,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

Aksoy’s remarks came shortly after Juncker told the Greek Parliament during a visit to Athens on Thursday that Turkey must release the Greek soldiers. Juncker’s remarks were “received with astonishment,” the foreign ministry statement said.

“We reject this statement, which is far from being serious and lacks legal basis,” he said.

“Greek soldiers who violate Turkish law do not have any privileges before the independent judiciary,” said the spokesman.

“We condemn this two-faced mentality [of the EU], which does not hesitate to make remarks about the state of law when it wants to, and when it comes to its interests, making statements that interfere with the ongoing judicial process,” said Aksoy.

A court in northwestern Turkey on April 25 ordered the continued detention of the Greek soldiers, who “inadvertently” strayed across Turkey’s border last month on March 1st.

The Edirne Second Criminal Court of Peace ruled against a petition by the soldiers’ lawyers to release them from remand. It was the third release petition rejected by Turkish courts.

The Greek soldiers were remanded in custody on March 2 for entering a prohibited military zone in Edirne, which borders Greece.

So far no charges have been raised, neither a trial date has been set.

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