FM Dendias Speaks of Earthquake Devastation in Turkish Cities, in Interview

February 14, 2023

ATHENS – Greece will help Turkish and Syrian people who suffered during last week’s earthquake in any way it can, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said told Star TV on Monday.

In an interview on the main newscast, Dendias said “our Turkish fellow human beings and our Syrian fellow human beings will have our full support, to the degree feasible,” by Greece and through the EU’s Civil Protection mechanism as well.

The Greek FM expressed pride in the work carried out by Greek rescue teams that arrived soon after last Monday’s devastating earthquake. “European rescue teams saved at least 205 people,” he said, also referring to the three search and rescue dogs deployed by the Greek teams.

Asked to comment whether Greek-Turkish relations would change now after the warm welcome of his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to southeastern Türkiye on Sunday to express support over the devastating earthquake, Dendias said he would focus “on the human aspect, and the ability of people from both countries to feel very close.” He added that “our ability to overcome our differences is always available, if and as long as we have a sense of humanity’s smallness before natural disasters.”

Speaking of the tour by helicopter over Hatay in particular, the Greek FM said “it is not just the fact that most buildings have fallen, or are leaning over, or have sustained great damage, but the entire network of infrastructure, airports, roads, power grid, natural gas grid, everything has been extensively damaged.” He also spoke of the survivors having to cope with low temperatures, and of abandoning their cities in fear after the continuing seismic activity. The same humanitarian aid is urgently needed in Syria as well, he said, with the added difficulty of Syria having “a government with which we cannot talk.”

Dendias also called on the Greek mass media to promote a comprehensive national effort to show the solidarity of the Greek people to the Turkish ones, beyond what the Greek government, agencies, and NGOs can do.


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