ATHENS — As long as ships, such as the Oruc Reis, remain in the region, Greece will not agree to resume exploratory talks with Turkey, stated government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Tuesday, speaking to SKAI radio. He underlined that the Greek side was not surprised by Turkey's latest provocations, adding that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has spoken on the phone with European Council President Charles Michel and asked that the issue of Turkish provocativeness be discussed at the next EU Summit, saying that if Turkey continues to stoke tension there will be consequences.
As Petsas said: "the sole object of the exploratory talks is to settle the only difference between Greece and Turkey, which is the delimitatiion of the maritime zones".
He also said that "some of our European partners believed that Turkey is trustworthy and have witnessed the extent of its unreliability. We are ready to do everything we can to prevent tension but when we are provoked we will be there, to show that we can defend our sovereign rights. We will always call on the other side to resolve the issue that exists within the framework that has also been agreed at a European Council level. We are not going into hibernation; on the contrary, we are fully alert."
Regarding the US stance, he added, this was the first time in many decades that the US had departed from a policy of equal distances and the American side clearly supported Greek positions.
Petsas said that Greece's next moves will be outlined by the prime minister after his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday evening.
The Greek side always placed emphasis on diplomacy, he added, noting that "we have right and our allies on our side. So, this gives us strength and at the same time we have military force and unity within so that we can deter any threat against our sovereign rights – and this we will do".
He also noted that Europe, following the special European Council of October 1-2, has created a framework which it can and will put into action, provided there is an interlocutor on the other side that also wants to reach a diplomatic settlement and not continued tension. "If Turkey continues the tension it will face sanctions," he said.