ATHENS – Provocations against Greece and baiting the European Union is seeing Turkey’s aim to join the bloc being pushed further away, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said, even as Greece has pulled back calls for sanctions,
“Turkey, as a set of principles and values, is drifting away from Europe… instead pursuing a neo-Ottoman agenda,” Dendias told a conference in Cyprus – where Turkey has been drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, defying soft EU penalties.
“(Turkey’s EU) accession process, which Greece has courageously supported in the past, has essentially come to a halt,” Dendias said, adding that a considerable part of the country’s population identifies with European values, reported Kathimerini.
“I am convinced that our disputes with Turkey can be resolved,” Dendias said. “However, I am not unrealistic. I see no such prospect at the present time,” he said, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has alternated between offering diplomacy with belligerence.
He also said he will again send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands to hunt for energy at the same time Turkey is claiming those waters and demanding that Greece take troops off islands near Turkey’s coast.
Turkey also has regularly kept sending fighter jets and warships to violate Greece’s airspace and waters while NATO – the defense alliance to which both belong – has looked the other way and said it won’t get involved.
Greece had asked for EU sanctions over Turkey’s energy hunt plans but pulled them back when the Turkish ships withdrew and has mostly ignored tough Turkish talk that has included a warning that it would be a cause for war if Greece extended its territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles.
Turkey’s EU hopes had already dwindled after losing support from France as well as Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish descent and which is a major arms supplier to Turkey.