On the return flight from Varna, Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to journalists who were travelling with him and had accompanied the president on his trip and meeting in Varna, about various issues related with the Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus and the 2 Greek troops that remain detained in Edirne’s prison.
“We (the leaders at the EU-Turkey meeting in Varna) discussed about the issue of the 2 Greek soldiers who were arrested after they had entered a military zone of ours. I explained to them than the issue is in justice’s hands and that their families as well as the (Greek) consulate’s staff are allowed to visit them. They (the other leaders) told me, ‘you are a great country, yourself a big leader, so make sure they get released. I replied that I am not greater than justice. The case is on a trial course. We must wait for the decision the judges will make.
However, I did explain to the other leaders that talking only about the 2 troops from Greece and not examining the issue of the 8 Turks who fled the country immediately after the failed coup in Turkey, in which they took part, and then asking for political asylum in Greece, is not just. Still, we do not associate the two cases. Nevertheless, those involved in the attempted coup in our country remain in Greece. Although we did ask for their extradition, Greece did not extradite them. The leaders said nothing about this matter but now refer to the case of the 2 Greeks asking for their immediate release.”
As for the hydrocarbon and gas fields in the Cypriot EEZ and the drillings expected to take place in the region, Erdogan was absolute and clear:
“In no way will we retreat from our position regarding hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. What we are saying is that according to International Law, people in the Northern part of Cyprus also deserve to get part of the natural gas and oil that will be found. People from the north and south of the island should be partners in this. But the Greek-Cypriot leadership keeps being worried about something else. They say ‘we will hire whatever company we wish to do the drillings’. We say ‘that the northern and southern leaderships should decide this jointly after they hold a meeting and decide which international company will be responsible for the project’. This is what the international Law dictates. So, as a matter of fact, we cannot support the view that the EU is being impartial.”
… / IBNA