The key event that crowned Greece’s diplomatic efforts for the release by Turkey of the two Greek servicemen in the last period was Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO Summit early in July, Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency’s radio station “Praktoreio 104.9 FM” on Thursday.
Tsipras told Erdogan that Greece will never link the release of the two Greek servicemen, held in jail for trespassing into Turkey during a patrol, with the eight Turkish officers who asked Greece for asylum, Katrougalos noted. It was also made clear to the other side that Greece seeks, as it has always done, the improvement of the two countries relations; that was the capping stone of the effort for the release, Katrougalos said.
Another factor in the release was, according to the Greek minister, “the rapid worsening of the Turkish economy which was the result of the tension between Turkey and Europe and with the West in general, including the US”.
Referring to the new chapter in the Greek-Turkish relations that opens with the release of the two Greek servicemen, Katrougalos said “it is obvious that there new prospects but we cannot in any way anticipate a sudden flourishing in Greek-Turkish relations. This depends on how much the other side will respond to our calls for dialogue, which will be based on the international law, and the de-escalation of the tension, and mostly the prevention of provocations and violation of the international law”.