Amidst unprecedented threats from Ankara over the demand that Greece extradite eight military officers allegedly implicated in the 2016 military coup attempt, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that effective channels of communication with Ankara are crucial.

“The worst that one can do is not to talk about things, to not have channels of communication and contacts, to not try to address real problems,” Tsipras told Real FM radio in Athens.

The PM said that his government has proven it seeks improved ties with Ankara, and has maintained open channels of communications, despite numerous differences with Turkey.

Guarded optimism over FYROM

The prime minister also expressed optimism over the prospects of a compromise over what the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be called.

“We can effectively and responsibly confront an issue which previous governments bequeathed to us,” Tsipras said.

The PM said that “it remains to be seen” to what extent Skopje is prepared to take bold moves towards a compromise, but if it is, there can be steps to break the impasse.

Amidst rampant talk of early elections in 2018, the prime minister once again insisted that general elections will be held at the end of his government’s constitutionally-mandated four-year term, in September, 2019.

Speaking of 2018 as “the year of Greece”, Tsipras stressed that the end of bailout memorandums must be coupled with the elimination of the socio-political and economic ills that led to the crisis.