Greek DM refers to ‘Midnight Express’ scenario of recycled charges against 2 Greek servicemen

3 April 2018
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Athens apparently switched tactics on Monday and ramped up its criticism of official Ankara and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally, as no progress has been discerned in efforts to get back two Greek servicemen still held in Turkey on vague charges.

Following statements by the prime minister’s office and the government spokesman, it was the junior coalition partner’s turn to take aim at the Turkish side.

Outspoken and often controversial Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said he believes the arrest of the two Greek servicemen was “pre-planned… because we’ve had all these types incidents over the past few years, and they (detained personnel) are let go in five minutes… we activated all lines of communications and they (Turkish side) rejected them.”

Kammenos, the head of a small rightist-populist party that props up the current “strange bedfellows” coalition government, even used a metaphor reviled in Turkey, referring to “Midnight Express” scenario whereby charges are imposed, re-imposed and changed again.

“Nothing operates democratically there (Turkey),” Kammenos opined, in comments to reporters in Parliament.

In fact, he even cited the possibility of the two servicemen – a lieutenant and NCO – extending up to 15 years.

“In a country where the courts and justice operate on the orders of the sultan, this can drag on for 15 years,” the minister said, in a direct reference to Erdogan.

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