00:23 GMT +312 November 2019
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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. File photo

    Juncker Welcomes Release of 2 Greek Border Guards From Detention in Turkey

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has welcomed the release of two Greek border guards from detention in Turkey, reiterating the European Union’s commitment to "strategic partnership" with Ankara.

    "Delighted by the news of the imminent release of the 2 Greek soldiers detained in Turkey. As I said in Varna, Turkey has nothing to fear from its European neighbors. The EU will remain engaged in this strategic partnership. We want to see a democratic, stable & prosperous Turkey," Juncker wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos also welcomed the news of the servicemen’s release and invited his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar to visit Greece. He said that Ankara’s decision could mark a new era for Greek-Turkish relations.

    On Tuesday, a Turkish court released two soldiers who had been in custody since March on suspicion of espionage after they had entered the Turkish territory. Athens insisted that the servicemen on a patrol mission had strayed into the Turkish territory by mistake due to bad weather conditions. The issue was one of the major irritants in the two countries’ relations.

    READ MORE: Turkey Suspends Migrant Readmission Deal With Greece — Foreign Minister

    Relations between Ankara and Athens, however, remain tense due to another standoff related to a group of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the 2016 failed coup in Ankara. Turkey demands that Greece extradite the servicemen, but Athens refuses to do so citing concerns that the officers will not face a fair trial back home.

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    Jean-Claude Juncker, Turkey, Greece
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