Protesters have taken to the streets of northern Greece demanding the release of two Greek soldiers detained by Turkey, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Greece’s defence minister, Panos Kammenos, described the pair as “hostages” and ordered border patrols to be stepped up along the heavily defended land frontier the two nations share.Sgt Dimitris Kouklatzis, 27, and Lt Angelos Mitretodis, 25, were seized 11 days ago after allegedly being found in a “forbidden military zone” deep in Turkish territory. The soldiers say they inadvertently strayed across the frontier in bad weather. Last week a court in the Turkish border town of Edirne, where the two are being held in a high-security prison, rejected a plea for their release pending further investigation. In rallies in Orestiada, the Greek town closest to the border, and Thessaloniki, the country’s northern capital, protesters called for the soldiers to be set free immediately.
“We want to send the message that we live in peace and harmony with our neighbours in this area,” said members of the Orestiada cycling club, who held a separate protest riding to the border in a display of solidarity for the detainees.
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