Turkey apprehended two Greek soldiers (which Greece says were border guards) in 2018 inside Turkish territory. Thereafter Erdogan proposed a swap with alleged 2016 coup perpetrators that Greek had previous refused to extradite.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has sparked anger with a proposal that two Greek border guards detained in the country since March be exchanged for eight Turkish officers who have sought asylum in Greece.

Greece officially refused the deal, at least then.

Have these Greek soldiers been released in the meantime? If so, under what conditions?

1 Answer 1


The soldiers mentioned above were released on the 14th of August 2018, 167 days after their apprehension. You can find a full timeline of events about this on here (in Greek).

Their release, pending their then trial, came under no conditions, given that the court established no charges could be brought forth for espionage but only for trespassing Turkey's ground, and thus they were returned to Greece immediately. There was no condition for them even to be present in their trial.

Their trial in absentia, for trespassing, seems to have started in late September. The charges they face have a maximum of 5 years in prison, but given the magnitude of the event and diplomacy that will ensue, I do not foresee a final decision any time soon and for this to be dragged on when it comes to enforcing in near perpetuity.

Of some note could be that these events unraveled on the same period with the US citizen pastor Brunson's situation, which may or may not had to do with pressure from the American side to release the Greek soldiers and relieve tension in the area.

  • Were they sentenced for trespassing? And if so what was the sentence? Oct 21, 2019 at 9:00
  • @Fizz added an appendix to cover the continuation of these events per your comment.
    – Leon
    Oct 21, 2019 at 9:09
  • 6
    Just a note: 15 August, the day of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, is a major holiday in Greece, one that traditionally families celebrate together. The release date was symbolic: It allowed the two to spend the holiday with their families, and it generated a fair amount of goodwill in an otherwise tense situation.
    – yannis
    Oct 21, 2019 at 11:11

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