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Politics

Dendias: Positive Turn in Greek-Turkish Relations a Result of Neighboring Country’s Change in Attitude

ATHENS – Türkiye’s attitude towards Greece has changed and created a workable relationship that Greece hopes will continue long term, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said on Saturday.

In an interview published in ‘Proto Thema’ newspaper, Dendias said that Turkish violations have stopped. “There are no violations in the Aegean, there are no overflights, there is no toxic rhetoric, there is no verbal aggression, there is no threat of using violence,” Dendias told the newspaper. This new reality is reflected he said in the Joint Statement of Greece-Türkiye following the 4th Meeting of the Positive Agenda in Ankara on March 22, as well as Dendias’ recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels recently.

The Greek government is fully aware of the difficulty of Greek-Turkish relations and foresees that Türkiye will respond in good faith to the new prospects opening up in relations. “We ought to, we have an obligation, to respond to such Turkish behavior,” he said, adding that he cannot make predictions about whether it will last. “But imagine how bad it would be if Türkiye extends a hand of collaboration with Greece and Greece rejects it – in other words, becomes inconsistent with what it has been saying so far” of seeking dialogue with Türkiye, he underlined.

Dendias particularly noted Türkiye’s support of the Greek candidacy for a seat in the rotating membership of the UN Security Council, which he called “the closest humanity has of a global government, and the trustee of the UN Charter and of International Law.” Greece, he added, “has an absolute duty to pass through the door Türkiye has opened,” but whether this will last short- or long-term only time could tell. “It would be unforgivale on the Greek side not to attempt to utilize this change,” he pointed out.

Greece’s support of Türkiye’s candidacy for the general secretariat of the International Maritime Organization, which Greece once held with Admiral Efthymis Mitropoulos, is something entirely different, the Greek FM said and spoke of detractors in every significant decision made in Greek foreign policy. Even with bilateral agreements with Italy, Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates and Albania, there are some who maintain Greece “has lost”. The minister insisted that “in international relations, things do not work that way. In reality this is an understanding that is positive, and I believe undoubtedly it is a step that will contribute to creating a milder climate, which is needed in order for our relations to become normalized. Whether this continues is largely dependent also on the further actions of the Turkish side.”

Greece’s desire and aim is the delineation of the continental shelf and EEZ with all its neighboring coutnries, based on International Law and the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as done with Italy and Egypt, and as it is on the way to resolution with Albania. “We want to continue the relevant dialog with Libya, after it forms a democratically elected government in that country, and obviously we want to do it with Türkiye as well through a constructive dialog that, I must reiterate, is conducted on the basis of International Law and the Law of the Sea,” Dendias noted.

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