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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the violation of human rights and the rule of law in the case of two Greek soldiers arrested and detained in Turkey (2018/2670(RSP))

Charles Tannock, Notis Marias, Monica Macovei, Valdemar Tomaševski, Raffaele Fitto, Ruža Tomašić on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the violation of human rights and the rule of law in the case of two Greek soldiers arrested and detained in Turkey (2018/2670(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the arrest on 1 March 2018 and detention by the Turkish authorities of two Greek soldiers, who claim to have unwittingly lost their way in bad weather while patrolling the Greek-Turkish border,

–  having regard to the fact that minor border trespassing incidents involving Greek and Turkish soldiers alike have already occurred many times at several points along the Greek-Turkish border, and that these cases have usually been rapidly resolved through procedures not involving the political level,

–  having regard to the fact that that particular part of the border, in the forest area of Kastanies along the Evros/Meriç River, is a major crossing point for migrants, refugees and traffickers, and that the lieutenant and sergeant in question were on a regular patrol tour of the border,

–  having regard to the Greek Government’s efforts to secure the release and return of the soldiers,

–  having regard to Article 5(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that ‘Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him’,

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention,

–  having regard to the fact that Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas two Greek soldiers, wearing uniforms and clearly recognisable as members of the Greek Armed Forces, were arrested by the Turkish authorities on 1 March 2018;

B.  whereas the two soldiers are currently being held in maximum security detention in a Turkish prison, where they have been for more than one month without any judicial process being conducted;

C.  whereas the Greek Supreme Court has blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers, who Ankara claims were involved in the country’s attempted coup in 2016, arguing that they would not have a fair trial in their home country;

D.  whereas the European Council, on 22 March 2018, expressed its grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey, including the two Greek soldiers, and called for the swift and positive resolution of these issues in a dialogue with Member States;

E.  whereas the protracted detention of the Greek soldiers was broached at an EU-Turkey summit in Varna, Bulgaria, on 26 March 2018, where Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Ankara to release the soldiers in time for Greek Easter;

F.  whereas Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, criticised the EU for putting pressure on Ankara about the two Greek soldiers, and said, ‘You did nothing about those terrorists’, referring to the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after an attempted coup in 2016;

G.  whereas in February 2018 a Turkish vessel rammed a Greek coastguard ship as both patrolled the waters off the disputed isle of Imia; whereas on 10 April 2018 Greek soldiers fired warning shots at a Turkish helicopter after it approached the Greek island of Ro in the eastern Aegean;

1.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to release the two Greek soldiers and return them to Greece;

2.  Calls on the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service and all EU Member States to show solidarity with Greece, to call for the immediate release of the two Greek soldiers and to support any effort in this regard;

3.  Calls on Turkey to respect international law and good neighbourly relations, and to normalise relations with Greece;

4.  Calls on the Secretary General of NATO to act as a mediator between Turkey and Greece, which are both NATO allies, in order to facilitate the immediate release of the two Greek soldiers and thus strengthen the Alliance and EU-NATO cooperation at this time of growing tensions over Syria;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Turkish and Greek Presidents, Governments and Parliaments, the European External Action Service, the Commission, the competent authorities of the Member States and the Secretary General of NATO.

Last updated: 17 April 2018Legal notice