Handelsblatt: Merkel intervenes for the release of two Greek soldiers from Turkish prison

Incident has adversely affected EU-Turkish relations

German newspaper “Handelsblatt” reports on the efforts made by Chancellor Angela Merkel for the release of the two Greek servicemen being held in a Turkish prison in Adrianople. Under the title “Merkel trying for the release of the imprisoned Greeks to Erdogan”, the article notes the German leader is mediating in the matter of the two arrested Greek soldiers, adding that the issue has cast a shadow on the scheduled EU-Turkey Summit.

The author of the article details the story of the arrest of the two Greek servicemen while he points out that the Greek government has so far been unsuccessful in releasing the two via diplomatic means. The author of the piece goes on to point out that the issue does not only affect bilateral relations between Turkey and Greece but also burdens the Summit meeting between the EU and Turkey scheduled for next Monday in Varna, Bulgaria.

“In the meantime, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been involved in the efforts to free the two soldiers. In a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in recent weeks, she made an effort to release the two soldiers, as confirmed by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos. How Erdogan reacted is not known”, the article notes.

Citing a veteran military man, the author of the article says the incident of soldiers crossing into foreign territory is a usual occurrence, which is usually resolved with comradeship between the soldiers by sharing a cigarette. The Chancellorship declined to comment on whether Mrs Merkel had indeed intervened in the dispute, simply commenting that the Chancellor was interested in the issue being resolved between two NATO allies.