Turkey wants Greece to arrest protesters for burning flag

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey on Wednesday demanded that Greece arrest and start legal proceedings against far-right demonstrators who burned a Turkish flag during a protest in Athens.

Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters that Turkey "strongly condemns" Monday's flag-burning incident, which he said amounted to a hate crime.

"It is our expectation that the Greek authorities find the perpetrators and bring them before justice," he said.

Separately, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos for saying that Greece did not possess all the lands that it was "historically entitled to."

A ministry statement called on Pavlopoulos "to respect international law and our borders" and refrain from comments that would increase tensions.

The two NATO allies have longstanding disputes over maritime boundaries and commercial rights.

The recent arrest in Turkey of two Greek soldiers for allegedly entering a military zone and espionage has further strained ties.

Greece, which says the soldiers accidently strayed into Turkey, has sought assistance from the European Union, NATO and the United Nations in securing the soldiers' release.

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