The Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a statement condemning the arrest of the secretary of the Turkish Consulate General on the island of Rhodes.
“We condemn the arrest of Sebahattin Bayram, the Secretary at the Turkish Consulate General in Rhodes, as part of an investigation carried out by the Greek authorities on allegations of espionage regarding taking photographs of vessels,” the statement said.
The statement added that “iIn the process leading to the arrest of our staff, who is a Greek citizen, Greece has violated the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as well as the right to freedom and security, and the right to respect for private and family life in the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The statement raised concerns about the safety of Turkish missions in Greece and said “We are also alarmed by the publications of the Greek media regarding the incident, as they violate the presumption of innocence, and target our staff and his family, as well as our missions in Greece and their employees.”
Concluding its announcement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry notes that “The necessary demarches were made to the Greek authorities about the investigation which is believed to be constructed by certain circles willing to increase tensions in relations with Turkey. We will take steps towards protecting the rights of our staff.”
The timeline of the arrest
According to the official announcement from the State Security Sub-Directorate of the Attica Security Directorate, a case was filed against two locals for violation of article 148 of the Penal Code. (espionage) and A.N. 376/1936 (on security measures of fortified positions) in collusion on Saturday 12 December.
As mentioned in the announcement, one worked on a passenger ship operating ferry routes that connect Rhodes island with the island of Megisti (Kastelorizo), and the other works at a Consular Authority in Rhodes.
The entire investigation of the case was carried out in close collaboration with the Greek Intelligence Services and the assistance of the Rhodes Security Sub-Directorate.
The two Greek citizens were arrested and released after testifying. Today, arrest warrants were issued by the Rhodes Investigator for the two locals. The 35-year-old secretary of the Turkish Consulate in Rhodes was indicted first and was arrested at his residence. Afterwards, an arrest warrant was issued for the 55-year-old cook recruited by the consulate official, who was later arrested at his home in Rodopi. /ibna