A Turkish court yesterday refused the plea for the release of two Greek soldiers caught on the Turkish border on charges of spying.
Greek lieutenant Aggelos Mitretodis and noncommissioned officer Dimitros Kouklatzis were detained after being discovered by patrolling Turkish troops near Pazarkule on March 1. An appeal for their release in May by their lawyers was rejected by the court in Edirne, the province where Pazarkule is located.
The two men, who are charged with military espionage, repeated their earlier defense and said they crossed into the Turkish side of the border by mistake. The court ruled that circumstances requiring their detention have not changed and therefore, they cannot be released. Investigators are still analyzing the contents of the USB drive as well as two personal cellphones and a military-issued encrypted phone the two men had in their possession. A hearing is not scheduled yet for the soldiers, who have added further strain to deteriorating Turkish-Greek ties.The suspects also shot a video of the Turkish border, but have claimed they were simply recording it to show the area they were "patrolling" to their superiors. Athens has backed their claim and Greek authorities have said that the men "accidentally strayed" over the Turkish side because of adverse weather.