Kotzias: I do not accept the equation between fighters of democracy and coup instigators

Kotzias: I do not accept the equation between fighters of democracy and coup instigators

Athens, July 25, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

A key criterion to address the new situation in Turkey after the attempted coup is for any nervousness and worsening of Turkish internal contradictions to not penetrate the relations of the two states and for the crisis to not be exported through accident, says Foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, in an interview with the newspaper “Real News”.

In this context, Kotzias stresses the need “to be measured, careful, sober and calm and take steps for the development of friendship between the two peoples”, and points out that the winners of the internal strife in Turkey must show magnanimity toward the loosers, must show self restrained and not reintroduce the death penalty. “We do not want a Turkey of revenge disintegration and destabilization”, he clarified and defended the EU position for a democratic Turkey, in which the interests and needs of all religious, ethnic and social groups, are respected, describing as counter-productive the statement of Erdogan on Hagia Sophia.

At the same time, he estimates that at least in the short-term the Turkish provocations in the Aegean will likely be reduced, noting however, that if the internal authoritarianism increases in Turkey, they might increase in the long-term.

Asked whether Greece will finally deliver the Turks military personnel who sought asylum in Alexandroupolis, Kotzias said that this is a decision for the judges and other competent authorities. “The latter will certainly take into account whether the eight were part of the coup”, he added, and noted that “I can not accept the insult of parallelism of the battle of those who are fighting for their rights, national, social and democratic, with the putschists who wanted to abolish the rights of society, who bombed the Parliament, wounded and killed demonstrators”. These people do not deserve our solidarity, he added.

Referring to the role of the Turkish consulate in Komotini, he noted that it often acts beyond its juridstiction, stressing that “we must take care to remind them”. At this point he noted that the Muslim community has lived well in Greece all this time, in a civilized context and with their rights safeguarded, and added that in this community there are both Roma and Pomaks, two Muslim groups of Thrace which have no connection with those self-determined as beinf of Turkish origin. Moreover, as he noted, one needs only compare the development of the Muslim community in Thrace, with the suffering suffered by the Greeks of Asia Minor and Constantinople.

Kotzias also made metion to the Cyprus issue and the negotiations for a solution, repeating clearly that a real solution involves the total and definitive removal of Turkish troops from the island and the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees. “These developments vindicate our position that the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus can not be a harbringer of democratic peace or be a guarantor of the implementation of a fair solution”, he noted, adding that on the contrary it is and will be a danger to any agreement and a hearth that generates putschists.

The Greek FM made particular reference to the terrorist attacks of ISIS in European capitals, sending the message that the battle against bigotry in every form of fanaticism, as well as terrorism, must be uninterrupted. As to the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, he remarked that the characteristic is that they come in a vast majority of Muslim citizens of these states, noting that here there is a problem of identity and integration in society of the EE member states.

Special mention is also made for the changes that the EU needs after the Brexit, saying it must take a fundamental decision: Does he want to deepen the integration processes? And if so, does he understand that they must be in the direction of greater democracy, social justice and development? That it is high time to bid farewell to the neo-liberal doctrines and memoranda policies? In this direction, he estimated that “if the EU continues to trend in the way it does, it will probably sink into suicidal tendencies…”.

Finally, as regards the subject of EU sanctions against Russia and if it should be reviewed, Kotzias he explained that there are two kinds of sanctions, “those made to kneel the opponent, by hand ineffective, and those to bring him to the negotiating table”, he said that as a rule sanctions are not significant results. “I think we need to discuss the autumn in the EU and why does the EU want to renew sanctions against Russia. It must be such a frank discussion. The automation never helped”. he noted inconclusive.