ATHENS — Those who believed that Turkey meant the things it said before the special European Council on October 1-2 had all been proven wrong, while Turkey has proven itself to be unreliable, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Monday.
Replying to questions during the daily press briefing, Petsas said that the government's response will unfold in the coming hours and days:
"We saw actions on both the fronts that were explicitly mentioned in the text of the European Council's conclusions. They spoke of avoiding any action that was contrary to the decisions and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and also spoke explicitly about the need for de-escalation on the issue of delineating maritime zones. In both cases, in Famagusta and with the illegal Navtex, we saw Turkey doing the opposite of what some within the European Union believed it would do," Petsas said.
He said that Turkey was now up against all Europeans and this was not an issue that concerned only Greece and Cyprus. "It is Europe that stands against Turkey in an unacceptable escalation, a serious escalation, and therefore the prime minister will be taking action both directly, as well as on Thursday and Friday," he added.
Concerning the exploratory talks with Ankara, Petsas said that this was a part of the government's strategy and that Athens will wait for Turkey's moves on this issue.
"We have said…that we are ready to resume the exploratory talks but we have two events in the last few days, for which you will see our reactions over the next hours. We will see how the exploratory talks unfold after the European Council on October 15-16," he said.
He also pointed out that the previous Council had given Turkey a period of two months to show that it was serious about de-escalation but Ankara had needed only a few days to demonstrate that there was neither consistency nor continuity in its efforts to de-escalate.
"There is, in fact, exactly the opposite. There is escalation. Therefore we don't need to wait until the European Council in December. For this reason, the next EU Council will be very important for the sanctions' toolbox," Petsas said.
He said contact with other European leaders, apart from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was a possibility, adding that despite the balanced mix between positive measures and sanctions offered by the last European Council, Turkey appears to have chosen the latter.
Concerning Greece's actions in the field on an operational level, Petsas said that "we will do whatever is needed to deal with the Oruc Reis operationally" while expressing hope that it will not be necessary to also activate the NATO deconfliction mechanism.