Confronted with huge foreign policy challenges, the greatest of which is the escalation of Greek-Turkish tensions in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, incoming Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has vowed to seek the broadest possible consensus on national issueswith SYRIZA and other opposition parties.
Dendias took office even as Ankara prepared to begin illegal oil and gas drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) off the Karpas peninsula, which has been Turkish-occupied since 1974.
Ankara is also challenging Greee’s sovereign rights in the continental shelf and EEZ of the Greeek island of Kastelorizo, and any attempt by Ankara to drill there could quickly spark a conflict.
It should be noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first foreign leader to call and congratulate Mitsotakis, even before the final results were in.
The coming weeks will be crucial in establishing the relationship between the two leaders.
Dendias stressed that foreign policy and national issues cannot possibly be a field for partisan clashes, and he repeateded incoming Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ call for national unity.
In handing over the ministry, outgoing minister Yorgos Katrougalos praised Dendias’ firm and steadfast opposition in Parliament to neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which failed to pass the three percent threshold to enter Parliament in the 7 July general election.