After 137 days with their sons in a maximum security Turkish prison without charges having been filed, the parents of Angelos Mitretodis and Dimitris Kouklatzis still have no idea of when the two army officers will be released.
“There is anxiety, but the kids are all right. We saw them in an hour-long visit on Friday, and we will see them again next Friday, said Nikos Mitretodis, the father of Angelos.
Asked to comment on the situation after the recent Nato summit and the meeting between PM Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Erdogan, Mitretodis said that “all that is politics, and what is most important is the two men”.
As Ta Nea reported, the prison in Edirne, Turkey is guarded by the Gendarmerie, and the area is cordoned off for a radius of four kilometres.
Until now, Athens’ position as expressed in international organisations (Nato and EU) and most recently with German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a demand for the immediate release of the two officers.
After the two-hour Tsipras-Erdogan meeting which was reportedly held in a heavy climate, it seem the issue is taking a dramatic turn.
The government’s shift
After that meeting, Athens is no longer talking about an immediate release, but rather a request that the two officers receive a “fair trial” that should be expedited in the Turkish courts.
After the Turkish side sent a letter to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Ankara is directly linking the return of eight Turkish officers who are seeking asylum in Greece with the two Greek officers, in order to ensure that the Greeks get a fair trial in Turkey.
Erdogan linked the two issues in the meeting with Tsipras, though he reportedly did not formally demand an exchange.
All of the above indicates that the incarceration of the two Greek army officers will be protracted.
Dimitris Maniatis
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