Armenia releases Turkish boy who crossed border

Armenia releases Turkish boy who crossed border

İsmail Saymaz
Armenia releases Turkish boy who crossed border

Armenia has released a 16-year-old Turkish boy who crossed the border in July.

Umut Ali Özmen, who lives with his family in the Akyaka district of Turkey’s northeastern province of Kars, was captured by Armenian security forces on July 24 after crossing the border near Şiş Hill while herding cattle, according to CCTV footage of a Turkish border post.

Özmen was released on Sept. 25 after two months under arrest in a prison in the Armenian town of Abovyan.

He is expected to return to Turkey in a couple of days after the Turkish Foreign Ministry provides him a temporary passport.

Özmen, a shepherd, had said that he crossed the border while grazing his animals.

An Armenian official told daily Hürriyet on condition of anonymity that their investigation confirmed that the trespassing was not based on any criminal intent.

In a meeting at the closed border gate on July 25, Armenian authorities had told Turkish counterparts that the Turkish boy would be taken to court, despite Ankara’s official demand for his release.

Since Turkey and Armenia have no active diplomatic relations because of disputes over historic incidents, Georgia has been acting as an intermediator in the case.