The 2 Greek servicemen and pastor Brunson denied release from Turkish jails

The 2 Greek servicemen and pastor Brunson denied release from Turkish jails

The two-year state of emergency applied in Turkey after the attempted coup of July 2016 ended today, leading certain circles in Athens think that this could bring further developments -unknown what exactly- into the case of the two Greek servicemen detained in Edirne’s high security prison.

Although it is hard to say which way things will go from here on, and keeping in mind that also before the coup, people remained detained for long time without necessarily having being charged- the fact that the state of emergency has come to an end is a step towards normalisation.

At the same time, the lawyers of the two Greek military men did not use in court the move of Athens to grant foreign aid to the two soldiers in order to lift the argument of the Turkish Justice that they do not have a permanent residence in the neighbouring country. This argument was previously used as a reason for extending their detention. Their lawyers did not inform the court of any such developments, nor did they advise on any address. Also, the Turkish authorities have not been officially informed about the appointment of the two servicemen in Turkey.

Still, it should be noted that the permanent residence does not help the defendants in particular if the court considers a suspect that could flee. A typical example is the thousands of Turkish citizens who are waiting to be tried although they do have a permanent Turkish address, but are in that position as suspects who might flee.

The decision not to release the two servicemen comes only a few days after the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During that meeting, Alexis Tsipras said he had urgently raised the matter and called for court proceedings to move faster, appearing optimistic after the meeting, in relation to the previous period. The Turkish president had said he spoke about the issue with the Greek premier, as well as about the asylum granted to the 8 Turkish officers in Greece, while Turkey considers them coup plotters and aspiring assassins of the Turkish president’s family.

In his statements to Turkish journalists, Erdogan had said he had agreed with Alexis Tsipras to adress these issues “with good intentions”.

What the Turkish Prosecutor says about the two Greek soldiers’s extended detention:

– There is strong suspicion of the crime of entering a prohibited military zone.

– Due to the fact that they have no permanent residence in Turkey, and that they are citizens of a foreign country, there are well-founded suspicions of them escaping.

– Due to the continued testing of digital material, it is likely that charges will be different.

-This was done by soldiers, who should have the least knowledge of the course they are to follow in the area, and this increases the chances of them having committed the crime of knowingly entering a Turkish military zone.

– Due to the fact that the threshold for the crime is at least 2 years, it is now appropriate to continue their detention.

The American pastor will remain in prison

The Izmir court has decided to continue with the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is accused of terrorist activity and espionage, in a case that has created tension in U.S.-Turkish relations.

Brunson is accused of assisting the PKK and Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey accuses of being behind the attempted coup against Erdogan (in July 2016).

The next court meeting is scheduled for October 12th.

The U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Turkey, Philip Kosnett said that Washington is worried about the situation of the pastor and other American prisoners and does not believe there is any indication of guilt.

Brunson has been imprisoned since October 2016…. / IBNA