Despite the fact that the two cell phones that were seized from the two Greek army officers who have been imprisoned in a high-security Turkish F-type prison – reserved for the likes of accused terrorists and drug lords – in Edirne have reportedly yielded no evidence of military espionage, there has been no trial date set for the sole charge to date of illegally entry into a Turkish military zone, at the Evros border region.
The men’s parents are allowed to visit them weekly, where they communicate through a glass security partition, and only once a month are they able to meet face-to-face. It is yet another element of what appears to be a strategy of humiliation and psychological warfare toward Greek authorities but also the officers and their families.
The Greek government has already sent an expert to Ankara to further inspect the data on the two officers’ cell phones, amidst reports that Turkish authorities have not found evidence of military espionage in the devices.
Alternate Defence Minister Fotis Kouvelis, paid a visit to the officers’ parents yesterday, accompanied by the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, and the commander of the officers’ Fourth Army Division, Georgios Kambas.
When the mother of one of the men asked the minister what more he would do if it were his child, Stefanis instructed her that it was not the appropriate moment to raise the issue, drawing media criticism.
The Permanent Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece issued a statement yesterday expressing the Church’s unqualified solidarity with the officers, along with hopes and prayers for their release.
Over four thousand protesters demonstrated last Sunday in the central square of Orestiada, fewer than 20 kilometres from where the two army officers were captured.
Some sources indicated that the case of the two Greek officers, who allegedly crossed the border at Evros in inclement, foggy weather, straying several metres into Turkish territory, has raised concerns in the ranks of the Turkish military, as the Greek side could well pull a similar stunt if Turkish soldiers were to mistakenly cross into Greek territory.
Such incidents are hardly unprecedented, and they have always been dealt through immediate contact between the division commanders of the two sides.