ATHENS – Greece wants to convert the gains from its very successful handling with the coronavirus crisis into gains for the Greek tourism market, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Wednesday in an interview with the public radio ERA, underlining that the government's top priority remains to protect the health of both Greeks and visitors to the country.
"We are trying to ensure that, in the cases where the epidemiological features permit, the Greek tourist market is able to function and that visitors from other countries with a similar [epidemiological] profile, who do not burden the Greek health balance, are able come to Greece," he said. Dendias noted that there were many such countries, such as Germany, that are trying to support the Greek tourist market and the countries of the Balkans.
As Dendias said, the aim is for citizens with similar epidemiological profiles to be able to communicate freely without certificates, tests and inconvenience.
Regarding the proposal made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to help the recovery of the European economy, he said it was "very important for Europe and the way we view our common future."
"A common guarantee for our problems is the foundation that can take Europe forward," Dendias said, which instead of states on parallel paths established "a civil society for a common future.".
Referring to Turkey, he said that "at a time of an international crisis, the coronavirus crisis, instead of prioritising the solution of shared problems it was prioritising the resolution of non-existent differences."
He said that Turkey does not strive for agreement with its neighbouring states, even for issues that affect all countries and this approach does not help the common future.
On the issue of extending Greece's territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, he said that this was the country' unilateral right, which it would exercise wherever and whenever it wants, as it wants."
"Silliness, such as the casus belli [threat of war if Greece extends its territorial waters] on the Turkish side leaves us entirely unmoved. In 21st century society, threats of war do not exist," Dendias said.
He also called the Turkey-Libya memorandum legally non-existent and suggested that Turkey "support actions for a non-existent memorandum," adding that "Turkey, with its irrational, provocative, and often illegal behaviour, with its arrogant behaviour in Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone, has opened many doors for us because it has helped the international community to finally understand the role being played each side."
Referring to the incidents with migrants in Evros he said that it exposed Turkey to the entire international community.
Finally, on the possibility of an 'accident' with Turkey, Dendias said that the Greek Armed Forces are experienced, that Greek officers are not hotheaded and know how to handle these cases and this has been proved, provided, of course, that the other side respects certain limits".