Petsas: Turkey’s Blackmail Was Stopped at Evros in February

ATHENS – Greece had advance knowledge of the fabricated Turkish propaganda that would be directed against it and had stopped the neighbouring country's attempt to blackmail Greece and Europe in February, by defending the Greek and European border, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas noted in statements to ANT1 TV on Saturday.

"We had seen this sort of fabricated propaganda throughout that period. We had categorically denied all the claims circulating within and outside Turkey at that time, in the international media, since we had intelligence early on that this sort of evidence will be fabricated to be used later on. Later on has become now. We were prepared and we said that there is no new evidence that implicates anyone on the Greek side, on the contrary it was a construct by the Turkish authorities in the framework of this propaganda," he said.

Petsas revealed that Athens sent a classified document to all its embassies on March 13, including that in Berlin, outlining the fabricated evidence that was being prepared to direct at Greece.

"We always do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereign rights and our borders. We will continue to decisively deflect this propaganda. As [Turkey] failed in Evros, so it will fail in every other effort," he added.

Concerning the economy and the impact of the pandemic, Petsas stressed that no one will be "left behind" and that the government will do what is needed to protect jobs and support workers, in both May and June.

"We will open up the economy gradually, so that it starts to develop momentum," he said, outlining a series of measures to support businesses affected by the crisis, such as tax deferrals and others.

Regarding restaurants and the catering sector, Petsas said the current date for their reopening was June 1, with the government monitoring the progression of the pandemic with respect to "complex issues, such as opening schools and restoring economic activity in the retail trade sector from Monday."

Other milestones will be allowing transit from one regional unit to another, or permitting travel to the islands, as well as working out details on how restaurants will operate, such as ventilation and others.

Regarding tourism, he said Greece's good performance in managing the pandemic was a plus and predicted that the season will be smaller but not lost, with the government now awaiting for the European Commission to present its proposals in mid-May on air travel.



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