ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis received Germany's Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas at Maximos Mansion on Tuesday evening.
The two men discussed the hurdles in Turkey's relationship with Greece and the rest of the European bloc, with Mitsotakis observing that a dialogue with the neighboring country is stalled by unilateral actions, "such as the resumption of activity by Oruc Reis and the reopening of Famagusta's Varosha beach front, which had been closed for 46 years."
The recent European Council meeting made it quite clear, said the Greek Premier, "that if unilateral action and provocations by Turkey continue in violation of International Law, we – as the European Union – will use all available tools and options," and he noted that "we will closely monitor developments and take the appropriate decisions by December at the latest."
Greece, he told Maas, has every intention to start a productive dialogue with Turkey: "As you know, with the mediation of Germany, we agreed – at least twice – to restart exploratory contacts from where they left off in March 2016, with the aim of reaching an agreement on the demarcation of our maritime zones," he pointed out.
But instead, he said, "Turkey decides to send out Oruc Reis sailing in the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone," despite, as he observed, the fact that, less than a week ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias that Turkey would set a date for the restart of exploratory contacts.
Concluding, the Prime Minister said the issue will be discussed again at the next European Council meeting, and thanked the German minister for his "proactive diplomatic stance."
Minister Maas expressed his surprise at Turkey's recent actions, and said all these "contravene the spirit of what we agreed on." He expressed understanding for Athens being "not simply surprised, but angry as well, as, again – this is not the first time – what we had planned initially has been interrupted by provocations by the Turkish side."
The purpose of his visit to Nicosia and Athens was to "announce and show in action the solidarity and support Greece enjoys by all of us int he European Union and Germany," Maas underlined.