In a resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of 607 MEPs on Thursday, the European Parliament has called on Turkey to swiftly conclude the judicial process and release two Greek soldiers held in a Turkish prison since early March, when they accidentally wandered across the border into Turkish territory while on patrol.
In the resolution, MEPs stress that the two Greek soldiers have been held 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 non-legislative resolution was adopted with a vast majority – 607 votes in favour to seven against, with 18 abstentions.
Debate in plenary MEPs quizzed on Tuesday evening Commissioner Stylianides on the steps to be taken for the two soldiers to be released and strongly criticised Turkey for not respecting fundamental rights and the rule of law. Speakers from all political groups expressed their solidarity with Greece and asked for the judicial process to be completed and for the release of the two soldiers.