“Turkey must realize that any escalation of the challenges will bring great costs for it, both diplomatically and financially,” said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in an interview with the newspaper “Proto Thema”.
Asked about this, he replied that it is a fact that there has been a relative recession in the Aegean in recent months, but the challenges are not completely absent and added: “This, however, is only a superficial assessment of the situation. The bottom line is that there is a gap between the two countries’ positions. “This is due to the fact that Turkey refuses to accept International Law, and in particular the Law of the Sea, as the basis for resolving any dispute.”
On the contrary, the Foreign Minister pointed out, Turkey continues to behave according to rules that were in force in the 19th century, threatening our country with war if we exercise our inalienable rights and wants to implement the so-called “cannon diplomacy”. “Unfortunately, some circles in Turkey refuse to accept that we live in the 21st century and that the epic of empires, including the Ottoman Empire, has passed irrevocably,” he said.
At the same time, Nikos Dendias sent the message that Greece, towards a country like Turkey, draws strength from its alliances with other countries that share the same values. At European level, with the United States, but also with the countries in the region, he clarified and stressed that “the policy we have been developing for two years, as well as the European Damocles sword that hangs over Turkey, if it repeats its delinquent behavior, have started and are bringing tangible results “.
Regarding the exploratory contacts with Turkey, he said that we expect Ankara to suggest new dates for the 63rd round, as the 62nd had taken place in Athens in March. Regarding the essence of these informal and non-binding contacts, he clarified again that the only issue discussed is the delimitation of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean and nothing else.
As concerns Varosha
Referring to the Turkish announcements for opening of part of Varosha, Nikos Dendias emphasizes that it is not just another illegal act of Turkey which violates and ostentatiously ignores International Law. “It is an organized effort to radically change the framework for resolving the Cyprus issue,” he stressed.
He reiterated that Greece rejects any proposal that does not fall within the scope of UN Security Council resolutions, ie a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, noting that the same position has been adopted by all UN member states, with the sole exception of Turkey.
He further noted that Varosha, within a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, will be part of the Greek Cypriot community and recalled that since 1979 there was an agreement for the return of legal residents of the area under UN administration, even before the settlement of the Cyprus issue. In this context, he pointed out that the Turkish announcements put a gravestone in this agreement and at the same time are an insult to the UN.
Responding to a relevant remark of the journalist, Nikos Dendias said that “you rightly notice that some countries, such as Great Britain, within the Security Council, and Germany within the EU initially faced the condemnation decisions of the UN Security Council and the UN Security Council. EU”. However, he added, “there are two important quality elements that we must not forget. The decisions were reached with the agreement of all members, both the 15 members of the UN Security Council and the 27 EU member states. ”
“Divorced from international legitimacy”
In addition, he stressed that countries that have little in common and are separated by much, such as the United States, Russia, China, India, and France, have agreed to condemn Turkey, something that has not happened in the past. This, he noted, is not accidental, but it is a product of coordinated efforts made by our country together with Cyprus and is a proof that the openings we make yield and show – he underlined – that Turkey tends to get a final divorce with international legitimacy being now the minority of one.
Afterwards, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made, as reported by APE-MPE, a special reference to the very close relations that our country has developed in recent years with Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, suggesting that the development of relations with the countries of the region is based on a common denominator: the effort to consolidate security and stability in the region on the basis of international law. He expressed the hope that Turkey will also embrace these values.
At the same time, he stressed the “openings” of the country at regional level, citing, for example, the signing of a cooperation protocol with the Arab League, while expressing hope that the same will happen soon with the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose headquarters of which he visited last April.
The expansion of Greek-Indian relations is important
Nikos Dendias described as particularly important the expansion of Greece’s relations with India, a country that maintains close ties with Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates. He noted that the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister to Athens a month ago, the first in almost two decades, was an opportunity to emphasize the two countries’ commitment to international law, but also to have a very interesting exchange of views on global challenges, including those posed by Turkey, where there was a convergence of views.
Referring to his recent visit to Israel, he noted that she was the first such trip of a European Foreign Minister under the new government and that he had a particularly cordial meeting with his new Israeli counterpart.
On relations with USA, Russia, Germany
He also made special mention of Greek-American relations, emphasizing that they are at their highest point. He noted that contacts with the new government are continuing at all levels and said that if health conditions allow, he is expected to travel to New York in September to attend the UN General Assembly. He also announced that a trip to Washington is planned for October-November and that the two sides are in agreement on setting a date.
Regarding Greek-Russian relations, the Foreign Minister referred to the close, historical, religious and cultural ties that unite the two countries and stressed that during his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Sochi in May, they agreed to work to further strengthen these ties. He pointed out that the Greek community, whose representatives he met on the shores of the Black Sea, could contribute to this effort. Referring to this visit, he said that of all the trips he has made, this was one of the most moving and added: “The last visit of a Greek official in the region was that of the then Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, three decades ago. The expatriates I met asked for only one thing: Greek teachers to teach their children our language “.
Asked to comment on Greek-German relations, Nikos Dendias remarked that it is known that we “read” the current situation differently in several issues concerning our region, starting with the confrontation of Turkey, but also the export of weapons systems that threaten to upset the balance of power in the region. On the other hand, he pointed out, Germany is the strongest economic country within the European Union and therefore for Greece, close and constructive cooperation with Berlin, based on sincere mutual respect, is a priority regardless of government. For this reason, he explained, we are cultivating contacts with the most important forces that play a role in political events today, but also possibly tomorrow.