Tsipras: Issue of Greek soldiers will be raised in EU-Turkey talks in Varna

The issue of the two Greek soldiers who have been detained in Turkey after they inadvertently crossed into the neighbouring country will be raised in a meeting of EU top officials with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Varna on March 26, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, after the second day of the EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels.

“I asked for guarantees from our partners for the two Greek soldiers and that the issue will be discussed in Varna. We made every effort to resolve the issue bilaterally with the support of our partners, but this was not possible,” he told journalists.

“We will continue our efforts through bilateral relations but we now rely on the official, open intention of our partners and allies on the issue,” he added.

Commenting on the recent Turkish provocations in the Aegean, Tsipras said Greece is determined to defend its sovereign rights against any threats and to defend its borders, which are also the EU’s borders.

“It should be made clear to turkey that it has to abandon its continuous provocations as it has nothing to gain from them,” he said.

Asked on Turkish press reports claiming that military maps were found in the mobile phone of one of the Greek soldiers, Tsipras dismissed them saying: “Whoever tries to use what is clearly an accidental incident against two countries, they will be making a huge mistake, hurting their credibility and relations of trust we have tried to build these past few years.”