Two northern Greek metropolitans ask Erdogan to release Greek detained soldiers

The metropolitans of northern Greece on Tuesday called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to intervene so that Turkey releases the two Greek servicemen it has detained.

The Greek Orthodox metropolitans – Serafim of Kastoria and Damaskinos of Didymoticho, Orestiada and Soufli – made their request through a letter forwarded by the Turkish embassy in Athens, and asked that the two men are allowed to celebrate Easter with their families.

The two officers, Dimitris Koukladzis and Angelos Mitretodis, were arrested for entering Turkish territory during a border patrol in northeastern Greece. They are detained pending trial in a maximum-security prison in Edirne.

In their letters, the two church officials said,

“Your Excellency Mr. President,

“As the Holy Easter – the greatest religious celebration of the Christians – is approaching, as spiritual leaders of the two servicemen who are being detained in the (Edirne) jail since March 1, Angelos Mitretodis from Kastoria and Dimitrios Koukladzis from Orestiada, we are asking for your intervention on purely humanitarian and religious grounds so they may be released and may return to their homes and families in order to celebrate these holy days with their relatives.

“We are undertaking this initiative in the confidence and certainty that respect for another’s faith is a global humanitarian value, which we, as the responsible vanguards of politics and religion, are obligated to serve.”