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Politics

Petsas on Turkey: “Greece Is Not Daunted by Any Threat”

September 6, 2020

ATHENS — Both Turkey's rhetoric and its provocative actions throughout the Eastern Mediterranean – and not only with respect to Greece – have clearly exceeded the levels seen as normal in the past few decades, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas noted on Sunday, in a morning interview on 'Open' television station.

"For this reason, there has to be calm, vigilance and readiness on our part to activate all the diplomatic and other tools that Greece possesses – including its deterrent forces – so that these threats stop being directed and a way out is found through a peaceful resolution of the one and only difference that we have with Turkey, the delimitation of our maritime zones," he said.

He underlined, meanwhile, that Greece "is ready to do whatever is necessary to defend our territorial rights, while we are not daunted by any threat."

On the strengthening of the armed forces, he said that Greece was in talks with several countries and not just France:

"Unfortunately, the defence industry for many of the recent years has not had the attention that we should give it. Long-term it is a very significant pillar for both the economy and defence and it will be activated. The budget that has to do with our defence will be significantly increased…this will last some years and there will be consistency in the support of the Armed Forces, but with prudence."

He said the spending on armaments will be planned in such a way as to more quickly enhance deterrent capability.

On the NATO secretary general's proposals for a discussion on "deconfliction mechanisms", Petsas repeated that these were on a technical level and were being examined. "No meeting has been finalised, either on an broader NATO level nor on a bilateral level," he clarified, while ruling out all possibility of either exploratory contacts or any other discussion "so long as either Turkey's research vessel or other ships remain where they are."

"We have said several times that de-escalation in practice cannot be momentary but must have continuity and consistency, in order for Turkey to prove that it is sincere. It cannot, for example, withdraw its research vessel today only to issue another illegal NAVTAX a week later and expect that everything will be fine and dandy. Therefore, what matters is for Turkey to not only say to Germany or any other countries it's talking to that it supports dialogue and international law but to prove this in practice," the spokesperson explained.

On reports that Turkish troops have been moved to Edirne, near the northern land border with Greece, Petsas dismissed this as 'domestic propaganda' and said there was no confirmation of such movement or of a significant change in the troop formations at Evros.

He also commented on the measures the prime minister is expected to announce in Thessaloniki this year, noting that there will be support for the sectors worst hit by the pandemic, with both short-term and long-term measures.

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