N. Dendias: We do not differentiate ourselves based on Turkey’s aspirations

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To the Turkish escalation, Greece has chosen to respond with prudence, calmness, but also with determination regarding the defense of its rights, with full respect for International Law and especially International Law of the Sea, announced the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias in an interview with the newspaper “Proto Thema”.

“We are not slipping into a sterile confrontation, nor are we wasting ourselves on sensationalism,” Nikos Dendias emphasized and repeated: “We are diplomatically shielding our country, through the strengthening of ties with our strategic partners. We are informing our allies and partners of the unacceptable behavior of Turkey. We now note with satisfaction that our arguments are being accepted, as was also seen from the conclusions of the recent European Council, as well as from the persuasions of allies to the Turkish side, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Madrid. And of course we are strengthening the deterrent capacity of our country”. In this context, he emphasized that “our national security is primarily our own business and is primarily based on our own forces”.

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In fact, the Minister of Foreign Affairs clearly stated that Greek foreign policy is not redefined, it follows fixed positions based on the principles of International Law and seeks synergies with other countries, with the ultimate goal of maintaining security, stability and prosperity in surrounding area. “We are a self-confident country, with confidence in our positions and principles. We managed, with a truly active foreign policy, to have a say and a role in the wider region. Therefore, we are not defined differently based on the alliances and aspirations of our neighboring country” he explained at another point in the interview.

Likewise, he reiterated that it is not Greece that decided to cut off communication channels with Turkey. “We did not put an end to the process of the Supreme Cooperation Council, the Confidence Building Measures, the exploratory contacts, the political dialogue and the positive agenda” he noted characteristically and sent the message that Greece wishes to reduce tension and sincerely looks forward to maintaining open channels of communication with Ankara and in a constructive dialogue, always based on International Law.

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Asked if we will experience another hot summer in the Aegean, the Foreign Minister replied that he hopes not. “Whether and to what extent we will have a quiet summer this year will depend on the attitude that Turkey will take,” he added, noting that Turkish rhetoric has recently escalated. In particular, he said that representatives of the political leadership, the opposition and various analysts in Turkey seem to have indulged in a peculiar contest of verbal attacks against Greece. “Bidding on baseless legal claims, anecdotal narratives, absurd claims, and even personal insults to members of the Greek government, including the Prime Minister. Every day we read or hear related statements from a significant portion of Turkey’s political world – and not only from government officials, for to be fair. Statements that under other circumstances could be said to approach the limits of the graphic, if they did not consistently serve the dangerous ideology of a Turkish revisionism and if they were not accompanied by extremely provocative behaviors, such as overflights over inhabited Greek islands,” he noted Additionally. At the same time, he expressed the assessment that the recent competition of “anti-Greek” statements does not reflect the friendly feelings that a significant part of Turkish society still has for Greece, especially that which still looks forward to the European perspective of the neighboring country. After all, the same thing happens in Greek society, which feels a special familiarity with the pro-European part of Turkish society, he added.

Responding to a question about Turkey’s claims for the demilitarization of islands, the foreign minister made it clear once again that they are legally completely non-existent and essentially constitute another checkmark in the general revisionist narrative presented by the neighboring country. On the contrary, he underlined, Greece’s positions are based on International Law, international treaties, the Charter of the United Nations, the fundamental right to protect the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of states. Furthermore, he characterized as particularly worrying and dangerous, especially at the present time, the new narrative, according to which Turkey links our sovereignty over the Aegean islands with their demilitarization. For this reason, he emphasized, Greece has intensified the campaign to inform its partners, as well as the international public opinion, and noted that the fact that there have been most reactions, which essentially demolish the Turkish claims, shows that the other states realize that the these claims are not based on logic.

In the aftermath of the NATO Summit in Madrid, Nikos Dendias said that Turkey is not achieving anything substantial and that it came out doubly damaged, at least at the international level. “On terrorism, Turkey has not succeeded in declaring the Syrian Kurds who fought ISIS as ‘terrorists’, something it desperately wants, but no other country accepts. As for possible extraditions of suspects, these will be considered on the basis of the European Convention on extraditions. This would happen anyway. As far as weapons system exports to Turkey are concerned, besides the fact that Swedish and Finnish exports are negligible, these countries are also bound by the relevant European decisions anyway. Finally, for Turkey’s participation in European defense requires unanimity from the EU member states, that is, from our country and Cyprus as well. And of course, our position on this issue, like that of Cyprus, will depend on Turkish behavior.” he explained. He added at another point that Turkey has consolidated the image of a vacillating ally, which does not hesitate to endanger the cohesion of NATO.

At the same time, the Foreign Minister once again expressed Greece’s support for Sweden and Finland joining NATO and emphasized that this decision is a matter of principle for the Mitsotakis government. He also noted that at a time when the security situation in Europe is changing rapidly, “we must show our solidarity, as we expect from our partners.” In light of this, he underlined that “we do not take an ambivalent attitude, we do not practice an adventurist policy and we do not enter into a logic of “oriental bargaining” with dubious, at best, gains”.

Finally, referring to his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, the sixth in less than three years, Nikos Dendias said that “the strategic nature of the bilateral relations that was sealed in November 2020 with the signing of a Cooperation Agreement on Foreign Policy and Defence, which contains a mutual defense assistance clause which of course remains in force”. He also pointed out that Greece’s strategic relationship with the United Arab Emirates gained new momentum with the signing of 12 memoranda of understanding on a wide range of issues during the Prime Minister’s visit to the country last May and the agreement for Emirati investments in our country amounting to 4 billion . euros, while regarding his meeting with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah, he emphasized that he had sealed the will to deepen relations.

Source: AMPE

Source: Capital

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