ATHENS – After Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis moved to build an international alliance against Turkish provocations, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias insisted it was not anti-Turkish.
Instead, said Dendias, Greece was trying to build support for cooperation in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, downplaying earlier statements, including from Mitsotakis, that Greece would do whatever it takes to defend itself against Turkish aggression.
Ahead of going to Italy and Malta to further strengthen Greece’s hand, Dendias told Thema radio that the campaign is not about creating an “anti-Turkish front, but a front for reason,” although Turkey has said the same about Greece.
Denidas is also planning a trip to Algeria and talks with representatives from Indonesia and Vietnam before reaching out to the United Nations Security Council with no explanation why those Asian countries would care about a Greece-Turkey confrontation.
“We want the countries that have a say on and involvement in regional issues to have complete awareness of the Greek positions and understand that we represent the voice of reason. If Turkey wants to adopt it too, no one would be happier than me,” he said.
“Implementing the rules of international law in the region helps all of our societies. Turkey doesn’t always get this,” Dendias added, according to Kathimerini.
At the same time, he said it wasn’t significant that a Turkish energy ship, the Oruc Reis, sailed into Greek waters earlier although that came after Turkey and Libya signed a deal dividing the seas between them.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he wants to drill for oil and gas off Crete as Turkey is doing unlawfully in Cypriot sovereign waters, ignoring calls from that country’s legitimate government and the United States to stop, and with the European Unio to which Cyprus belongs issuing only soft sanctions.
“There may have been an unnecessary amount of attention given to the incident by public opinion,” he said, without mentioning it came from the government, with reports the Turkish ship was likely off course.. “I am always of the opinion that we should not give the other side the impression that it can raise the temperature here whenever it likes.”
““I truly believe that Greece and Turkey can figure things out; it is in both our interests,” he said with no sign Erdogan wants that.