ATHENS – A firm goal and intention of Greek foreign policy is "through our commitment to international legitimacy and by the strengthening the ranks of countries with a similar outlook, to make Turkey realise that respect for international law is the only answer to the problems," Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday during his speech at the web conference of the Greek Society for International Law and International Relations on "Greek Foreign Policy."
"Dialogue is a key to easing tensions. However, it does not cure the causes," the minister stressed, referring particularly to Turkey's generally provocative recent behavior toward Greece and Cyprus.
"Greece has the misfortune of being neighbours with a systematically delinquent neighbour and the good fortune to be in the European Union, which is a lure and a threat to Turkey, creating a kind of protection zone," he said, adding: "Not absolute."
"If you ask me if we are satisfied, I will tell you that we would like the European Union to take a tougher line on Turkey. But the EU is a union of 27 countries. It works, fortunately, with unanimity. Sometimes, national interest prevails over European. However, it does not cease to be a very powerful, perhaps the most powerful, weapon of ours," he pointed out.
As he stated, "the fear of European sanctions, combined with other parameters, led to the cessation of major Turkish provocations in the second half of 2020 and made it possible to start a dialogue/exploratory talks with Turkey, specifically the 61st round."
"The 62nd will follow, I believe and I hope," he added.
The foreign minister referred to the values and principles that govern Greek foreign policy, emphasising that respect for international law is its cornerstone.
"International law, from the UN Charter to the law of the sea and human rights, is a powerful tool for dealing with and handling the country's international relations," he said.
He also stressed the importance of Greece's participation in European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as the strengthening of the country's bilateral relations both in the Balkans and in the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Asia. "Through the strategic dialogue we have upgraded relations with the United States. The latter do not hesitate, for the first time, to publicly denounce Turkish provocativeness in the Eastern Mediterranean," Dendias underlined.