Reports out of Turkey on Wednesday, citing sources in the prosecutor's office in the border city of Edirne, pointed to the prospect of a maximum prison sentence of two years for two Greek servicemen being held in the neighboring country since early March.
The pair, a second lieutenant and a NCO, continue to be held in pre-trial detention pending the filing of official charges and the scheduling of a trial to hear the indictment, something that still has not been done. A Turkish prosecutor's ongoing investigation continues to drag on at a "snail's pace" more than four months after the incident.
A prospective misdemeanor charge of entering a restricted military zone, based on the relevant article in the Turkish criminal code, is being eyed, according to the reports.
Previous statements by Turkish judicial officers and widespread speculation in the Turkish press have referred to "aggravated" circumstances, entailed in the fact that the pair, as military personnel, should have had a better sense of direction, so that they would have avoided entering the neighboring country. Another previous argument is that Turkish authorities want to analyze the data on the mobile phones taken from the pair. No information was given on how long it takes court-appointed experts in the neighboring country to analyze such mobile phone "small data".
The two Greek servicemen reportedly entered Turkish territory for a few meters along a poorly demarcated point in the Greek-Turkish frontier in northern Evros prefecture, specifically at the Kastanies site. Poor weather conditions and snow on the ground was reported on the day they were detained in early March, alternately given as March 1 or March 3.
As of Wednesday, however, still no charges were filed by the slow-moving judicial officials in Edirne province.
In a related development, the two men were visited on Monday by head of the EU's Delegation to Turkey, Amb. Christian Berger, who later briefed Greek MEP Manolis Kefaloyannis over the meeting.
Amb. Berger was only granted permission to visit the men after weeks of repeated requests.
He reported that the pair were in good spirits.
Athens, the EU and NATO have expressed surprise and annoyance over the fact that military personnel of one Alliance member-state are being detained by another NATO member for inadvertently crossing the other's border.
Previous such incidents on the land border separating Greece and Turkey have in past decades been resolved in a matter of hours and at the brigade level.