Turkey’s tardive moves for supposed de-escalation are not convincing, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said today, noting that for this reason Greece and Cyprus have jointly called on the rest of the EU states to assume their responsibilities.
“We must take those decisions that will push Turkey on a real path of de-escalation and a constructive dialogue on the only basis we can accept. This basis is the International Law and the Law of the Sea,” Nikos Dendias stressed in his statements after the talks he had in Nicosia with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, in the context of the regular contacts and the constant coordination between Nicosia and Athens.
The Greek Foreign Minister also said that “these decisions are important not only as a clear indication to Turkey, but also as a proof of the EU’s credibility.”
For his part, Nikos Christodoulides said that “it is clear that the ball is in Turkey’s court; any decisions to be taken depend on Ankara’s behavior, and the (EU) leaders, once they evaluate its behavior as agreed in October, will proceed with the relevant decisions.”
“The European Union must be consistent, determined and credible, while at the same time claiming a leading role in matters relating to the sovereignty and sovereign rights of its Member States, which undoubtedly affect European interests as well,” he stressed.
The Greek Minister underlined that his visit to Nicosia takes place at a particularly critical juncture for the whole of Hellenism, but also for Europe in general.
“The common denominator is the illegal and provocative Turkish behavior. With its actions in the wider region, Turkey is harming peace, security, stability. On the one hand, it is attempting to create faits-accomplis, while on the other hand it seeks to avoid the adoption of measures against it,” he noted.
Referring to his morning meeting with the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, Nikos Dendias stated that he briefed him on the initiatives in view of the European Council, both those of the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and his own.
Dendias announced that with his Cypriot counterpart they focused on the forthcoming discussions in the EU Foreign Affairs Council, and also examined the general network of EU-Turkey relations.
He pointed out that the October European Council gave Turkey the opportunity to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region. And this so that we can create a positive agenda towards Turkey,” he said.
“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Turkey did just the opposite. Within a few weeks, it issued six illegal NAVTEXs to conduct seismic surveys in an area overlapping the Greek continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
At the same time, he added, the country proceeded with absolutely provocative actions with the so-called picnic in Varosha, while issuing an illegal NAVTEX for exploration in a maritime area that includes the Cypriot EEZ.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, which, as he noted, continues to be a top priority of Greek foreign policy, Mr. Dendias said that during the recent visit of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General Jane Holl Lute to Athens, “she was stressed that Greece is ready to participate in the informal five-party meeting to be convened by the UN Secretary General.”
For his part, Mr. Christodoulides commented that they discussed all the developments, evaluated the results of the discussions with Jane Holl Lute and exchanged views on the next steps, “so that from our side we can do everything possible to ensure that the initiative by the Secretary General yields positive results.”
“At the same time, the subject of our consultations was the revisionist behavior of Turkey in the wider region, which will be on the agenda of the European Council next week in Brussels, as has already be announced,” he said.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, he noted that “we have expressed our readiness to resume talks from where they left off in Crans Montana, as was clearly stated to Miss Lute, and we really hope that the Secretary-General of the United Nations will soon convene an informal meeting on Cyprus, which will pave the way for the resumption of substantive talks within the framework of the terms of reference of the Secretary General, as clearly defined by the Security Council and with the aim of achieving a solution of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation.” /ibna