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Briefing of diplomatic correspondents by Foreign Ministry spokesman Delavekouras

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Main points:

[regarding the two Greek initiatives on the European course of the Western Balkans and Turkey]


•    The one proposal for the Balkans, and the proposal is for the hosting by Greece, in 2014 – during the Greek EU Presidency – of an EU-Western Balkans Summit Meeting, like the one held in Thessaloniki in 2003, and for precisely the same purpose: to impart fresh momentum, within the framework of Agenda 2014, to the accession perspective of the Western Balkans.

•    It has also been proposed that we hold an EU-Turkey Summit Meeting at the end of June or in the autumn, precisely to discuss in an open manner Turkey’s accession process, where it stands, the obstacles it is meeting and how we should move ahead from here on in.

•    We believe that right now there is a reality in the accession process of the Balkans and the accession process of Turkey; a reality that is not to the benefit of our country or the long-term prospects of the integration of our region into the European Union. Greece’s strategic goal is to create a region, a zone, of stability, security and development, and participation in the European Union by our neighbours is a basic component of this policy.

•    A superficial negotiation process, a superficial accession process, is not in Greece’s interest, and it undermines the credibility of the European Union and the perspective of the accession process. That is why we are seeking fresh ideas that can impart political impetus to this process.

•    These are the positions that were set out by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister when Agenda 2014 was announced. This is the consistent policy we are following on Turkey’s accession process, and – I can, of course, go into greater detail afterwards – with the proposal we are putting forward for an EU-Turkey Summit Meeting.

•    We need to transcend the bureaucratic and technocratic boundaries that are there, so that we can approach this politically again and see where this relationship is going. Because this relationship is facing specific obstacles right now.

•    First and foremost is the slow pace of Turkish reforms. The fact, that is, that Turkey is not moving ahead in this process with decisive steps in the reform process it needs to carry out.

•    The second real obstacle is the doubt that exists as to the final result of this process. That is, the extent to which Turkey can really become a full member of the European Union, and we need to talk openly about this.

•    The third is Turkey’s ongoing refusal to meet its obligations as per the Ankara Protocol; its obligation to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and normalize its relations with the Republic of Cyprus.

•    This meeting, this Summit Meeting, is an ad hoc Summit Meeting that will take place between the European Union and Turkey for the purpose of giving the process political impetus.

•    Beyond that, there is the institutional relationship between the EU and Turkey, which will have to be complied with in order to bring results. The thing is for us to re-commit politically to moving ahead with decisive steps towards deepening this relationship.

•    Visions are not realized based on bad scenarios, they are realized based on good scenarios and we have a positive course in this whole process, a leading role historically. We are the country that shaped the framework for Turkey’s accession process, that provided the framework which allows the Western Balkans speak of a European perspective today.

[on FYROM]

•    Mr. Milososki is not aiding the process. His role is not constructive. At every given opportunity, Mr. Milososki is attacking Greece in a provocative manner and aggravates the process within the framework of the United Nations.

•    I cannot consider such statements as sincere about progress within the framework of the United Nations, when at every opportunity he has been trying to paint Greece in dark colors to FYROM public opinion and, in essence, undermine the prospects of these negotiations.

•    For our part, and this has to be made clear and we have been saying it at every given opportunity and you see it from the fact that we have been refusing to answer these provocative statements continuously made by Mr. Milososki, we want to see progress. For there to be progress, there must be a different climate in relations between the two countries.

•    If Mr. Milososki is systematically trying to turn his country’s public opinion against Greece, then it is obvious we are not going to be successful. This has to stop and we have to concentrate on the process, and the process is the negotiations within the framework of the United Nations.

Full transcript of the briefing (translation):


Mr. Delavekouras: Good morning.

A Meeting of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Foreign Ministers will take place in Thessaloniki on Friday, 26 November. This Ministerial is the culminating event of the Greek BSEC Chairmanship, which began on 1 June 2010. Greece will hand the Chairmanship on to Romania at this Ministerial.

Foreign Minister Droutsas and Deputy Foreign Minster Kouvelis will give welcoming speeches at the opening ceremony. At 14:45, statements will be made to the news media, followed by a luncheon hosted by Mr. Droutsas in honor of the participating Foreign Ministers.

The Thessaloniki Ministerial will culminate in a Joint Statement from all the Ministers, acknowledging that the Black Sea region is vulnerable to climate change and that all the member states agree to make joint efforts to confront this problem, with emphasis on plans for sustainable development, prevention of natural disasters and promotion of innovative and green enterprises.

Greece will submit this Statement, on behalf of the BSEC and its member states, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico next month.

Additionally, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) will be holding a business forum on the margins of the Thessaloniki Ministerial, focussing on various aspects of green development and entrepreneurship. This forum will be attended by members of the business communities of all the BSEC member states.

Tomorrow, Thursday, 25 November, Mr. Droutsas will carry out a working visit to Budapest, where he will meet at 11:00 with the Hungarian Foreign Minister. They will discuss, among other things, the upcoming Hungarian EU Presidency, which starts on 1 January 2011. Following their meeting, the two Ministers will make statements to the news media, followed by a working luncheon. In their talks, they will have the opportunity to discuss the proposals Mr. Droutsas made in Brussels.

Let me note here that in view of Hungary’s upcoming EU Presidency, Alternate Foreign Minister Xenogiannakopoulou will meet on Monday, 29 November with Hungarian Minister of State for European Affairs Ms. Eniko Gyori, at the latter’s invitation.

On Friday, 26 November, as we already said, Mr. Droutsas will be in Thessaloniki for the BSEC Ministerial.

On Tuesday, 30 November, Mr. Droutsas will travel to Astana, Kazakhstan, where he will participate, as a member of the Prime Minister’s delegation, in the OSCE Summit Meeting on 1 and 2 December.

At 11:00 on Tuesday, 30 November, Ms. Xenogiannakopoulou will deliver a welcome speech at a Conference being organized by the European Commission Representation in Greece and the European Parliament Office in Greece. The subject of the conference is, “Opportunities for strengthening security, stability and development through EU enlargement in the regions of Southeast Europe.”

At 14:30 today, Deputy Foreign Minister Kouvelis will meet with the UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UNEP, Mr. Achim Steiner, who is carrying out a visit to Greece.

At 18:00, Mr. Kouvelis will deliver a welcome speech at the annual ICBSS lecture, at the King George Palace, where Mr. Steiner will deliver this year’s lecture: “Towards a Green Economy: Opportunities in the wider Black Sea region”.

As we have already said, Mr. Kouvelis will participate in the BSEC Ministerial in Thessaloniki on Friday, 26 November.

On Monday and Tuesday, 29 and 30 November, Mr. Kouvelis will accompany the Prime Minister to Tripoli, Libya, to participate in the EU-Africa Summit Meeting. Mr. Kouvelis will stay on another day in Libya for bilateral meetings.

Foreign Ministry Secretary General Zepos will meet in Athens on Friday, 26 November, with the Secretary General of the Albanian Foreign Ministry, within the framework of regular meetings.

Within the framework of the newly established Universal Public Review of all the UN member states by the UN Human Rights Council, Greece will submit a report to be examined at the 11th Meeting of Council’s Universal Public Review Working Group (Geneva, 2-13 May 2011). In preparation for the drawing up of this report, civil society representatives are invited to be at the Foreign Ministry’s Kranidiotis Amphitheatre at 11:00 on 2 December 2010.

Register for participation by telephone: 210 368 2102, or email:

Your questions, please.

Ms. Fryssa: I would like the Foreign Ministry’s comment on today’s announcement from the vice president of New Democracy regarding the Foreign Ministry initiative for an EU-Turkey Summit Meeting.

Mr. Delavekouras: As you know, the Foreign Minister takes every opportunity of participation in meetings of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss foreign policy issues, and he will do the same this time.

Let me say that we are talking essentially about two proposals that have been made for our region. The one is for the Balkans, and the proposal is for the hosting by Greece, in 2014 – during the Greek EU Presidency – of an EU-Western Balkans Summit Meeting, like the one held in Thessaloniki in 2003, and for precisely the same purpose: to impart fresh momentum, within the framework of Agenda 2014, to the accession perspective of the Western Balkans.

It has also been proposed that we hold an EU-Turkey Summit Meeting at the end of June or in the autumn, precisely to discuss in an open manner Turkey’s accession process, where it stands, the obstacles it is meeting and how we should move ahead from here on in. So that is the framework, and there will of course be a relevant briefing of the Hellenic Parliament.

Ms. Fryssa: New Democracy was critical of the convening of this meeting.

Mr. Delavekouras: As you known, I won’t go into the political dialogue between parties on the political stage. What I can tell you is that it is a proposal that essentially, in an open manner, raises the issues and points to the need for us to discuss these issues frankly.

We believe that right now there is a reality in the accession process of the Balkans and the accession process of Turkey; a reality that is not to the benefit of our country or the long-term prospects of the integration of our region into the European Union.

Greece’s strategic goal is to create a region, a zone, of stability, security and development, and participation in the European Union by our neighbours is a basic component of this policy.

A superficial negotiation process, a superficial accession process, is not in Greece’s interest, and it undermines the credibility of the European Union and the perspective of the accession process. That is why we are seeking fresh ideas that can impart political impetus to this process.

These are the positions that were set out by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister when Agenda 2014 was announced. This is the consistent policy we are following on Turkey’s accession process, and – I can, of course, go into greater detail afterwards – with the proposal we are putting forward for an EU-Turkey Summit Meeting.

But we should bear in mind that in this process we need to transcend the bureaucratic and technocratic boundaries that are there, so that we can approach this politically again and see where this relationship is going. Because this relationship is facing specific obstacles right now. The fact, that is, that Turkey is not moving ahead in this process with decisive steps in the reform process it needs to carry out.

The second real obstacle is the doubt that exists as to the final result of this process. That is, the extent to which Turkey can really become a full member of the European Union, and we need to talk openly about this.

The third is Turkey’s ongoing refusal to meet its obligations as per the Ankara Protocol; its obligation to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and normalize its relations with the Republic of Cyprus. It is a given that, within this framework, Turkey can have no accession perspective. The accession process cannot continue at this pace if we want it to be substantial and real.

That’s it, in a few words. We can say more about this later if you want.

Ms. Peloni: On the same subject. I wanted to ask whether you have asked for any input, whether you have consulted with European partners on how they see this proposal. And if we assume that it passes and happens, what makes you believe that Turkey will this time do as it should, given that since 1999 it has moved ahead with some reforms, but has shown no will on more difficult matters.

Mr. Delavekouras: Let me say that Mr. Droutsas will be in Budapest tomorrow, and Ms. Xenogiannakopoulou will follow. And they will be there precisely to discuss these proposals, these thoughts, that the Greek side has for boosting the efforts and the work of the European Commission on the enlargement process, as well as the work of the Presidency.

Later on, of course, we will have meetings with the Polish Presidency, which will follow the Hungarian Presidency, as well as with all our partners, so that we can map out how these two ideas will evolve: the Balkans and Agenda 2014, and the Turkish horizon of June or autumn.

Beyond that, I will go on to the second question you raised, and say that the one-word answer to your question regarding certainly is “none” – we don’t know. We cannot know the extent to which Turkey will this time meet its obligations and the extent to which it will itself sincerely invest in this process.

But we want to create the conditions for a clear dialogue and create the conditions under which this process can once again become substantial, with political content, and function with specific target dates for the implementation of specific commitments.

We think that this process has lost its momentum, and this – as I said earlier – is due to many factors. There are two alternatives. One is for us to continue on today’s course, which is, however, a course that does not benefit the process and appears not to be up to the task of bringing about the significant changes that are needed. Changes, first of all, within Turkey itself; the reforming and evolution of Turkey so that it can come up to Community standards, and at the same time the major changes needed in Turkey’s conduct toward the world. One example is Turkey’s ongoing occupation of a part of the Republic of Cyprus. Such is Turkey’s failure to meet its obligations; such is its non-compliance with the criteria of good neighbourly relations.

All of this has to be put on the table. We believe that a clear, sincere talk at an EU-Turkey summit meeting will provide the opportunity for all the leaders to take a stance, to express their policy and to recommit to a vision for Turkey’s full accession to the European Union. It will be a means to take the leap that we need to take today.

Otherwise – I repeat – there is the road of inertia. But precisely because Greece has this special role in the region and in the enlargement process, we want to get past this thing. We want to make this leap. And that is why we are creating a new framework based on which we can work, without ignoring the fact that there is a strictly structured institutional framework of the relations of the Balkans with the EU and the relations of Turkey with the EU; a framework that must be complied with and, as a process, guide us to the desired result. But we are talking in political terms here.

Mr. Athanasopoulos: On the same subject, I assume that when my colleague asked whether you had talked to all the partners, she didn’t mean just the Presidency. She meant the two major countries with a say on enlargement – Germany and France – so I would like your comment on whether you have talked to these countries. That’s my first question.

Second, isn’t there already a roadmap for Turkey to follow? Will this roadmap be ignored, will another one be created, is that the goal? Because the Minister also talked about a roadmap.

Third question: wouldn’t an EU-Turkey summit meeting upgrade Turkey to a similar level with the EU? Isn’t it opening a window for Turkey’s starting to discuss a special relationship?

Fourth question: Do you intend – in case this process moves ahead – to link Greek-Turkish differences in the Aegean to it? Thank you.

Mr. Delavekouras: As I already said, we will work together with all our partners to formulate this proposal, so that following the consultations with the Hungarian Presidency, which starts in a month, there will be meetings with all our partners. This is a positive proposal – proactive diplomacy – that we are making, and we naturally want to collaborate with everyone so that this can bring results.

Mr. Athanasopoulos: (off microphone, concerning whether France and Germany have been consulted)

Mr. Delavekouras: No, that hasn’t happened at this point. That is what I’m saying: we are starting with the Hungarian Presidency.

On the second point, regarding the roadmap, yes, there is a process and, as I said, we respect it fully. This meeting, this Summit Meeting, is an ad hoc Summit Meeting that will take place between the European Union and Turkey for the purpose of giving the process political impetus.

Beyond that, there is the institutional relationship between the EU and Turkey, which will have to be complied with in order to bring results. The thing is for us to re-commit politically to moving ahead with decisive steps towards deepening this relationship.

As to whether Turkey will gain in specific gravity through participating in such a meeting: in no case whatsoever. And I don’t see you having any such objections, for example, to the EU-Western Balkans Summit Meeting.

We are talking here about a candidate country, and we want to discuss its accession process. The EU’s relationship with Turkey is strictly defined and determined by the application Turkey has made to become a full member of the European Union.

This is the EU’s relationship with Turkey – there is no other. So we are in no way talking about any change – even hypothetical or theoretical – in specific gravity or Turkey’s relationship with the European Union. What we want, however, is to lend political impetus to this process.

Turkey is a candidate country. But when we say candidate, that means rights and obligations. It means substantial reforms. As long as Turkey doesn’t carry out those reforms, it is not in the interest of the European Union or Greece.

And, finally, regarding your reference to Greek-Turkish relations, as you know, the institutional framework for Turkey’s accession process provides for specific commitments from Turkey with regard to good neighbourly relations, obligations to respect minorities and religious freedoms, obligations to the Republic of Cyprus.

These are obviously component parts of Turkey’s accession process and its relationship with the European Union, so they are obviously included.

Mr. Pantazopoulos: Is the co-exploitation of the Aegean that has come under discussion among Turkey’s obligations? Mr. Markezinis stated that before Christmas there will a kind of, let’s say, agreement. Do you know anything more on that? Whether he’s talking about recourse to The Hague or co-exploitation of the Aegean. Thank you.

Mr. Delavekouras: Allow me not to comment on Mr. Markezinis’ statements.

However, I will say that statements we hear from time to time from Turkish lips, like the relevant statements from Mr. Bagis, are obviously made for PR reasons, because it is obvious that by definition they are groundless as long as the continental shelf between the two countries has not been delimited. That is exactly why we need to emphasize the strengthening and promotion of this process, the process of exploratory contacts, so that we can get to the delimitation of the continental shelf. That is the object of the talks, and without delimitation, we can’t have any other discussion.

Ms. Boitard: Given, among other things, France’s stance, how do you assume that a sincere and clear dialogue will lead to reconfirmation of Turkey’s prospects for full accession?

Mr. Delavekouras
: No, I can’t guarantee that. What we are saying is that that is where we want to go; that is essentially the content of the process. If we can’t get there, as the Minister said in his speech, the other possible outcome is a rift.

But that – right now – is a reality. That is, if by June Turkey has not met its obligations to the European Union and its member states regarding the implementation of the Ankara Protocol and normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus, then the process is in effect frozen.

So what we need – capitalizing on the momentum there will be from a new government following the elections in Turkey, and on the reality of the situation right now with the accession process – is for the leaders of the European Union and Turkey to sit at the table and discuss where exactly we want this relationship to go, so that we have a specific direction.

What we are saying is that there is no point in continuing a process in which we try to open a chapter at the last minute, a week before the end of every Presidency. Turkey needs to carry out these reforms, so it has to re-commit to this process and its desire to become a member of the European Union.

For its part, the European Union needs to make it clear to Turkey that when Turkey has carried out these reforms, then the road will be open for full membership in the European Union. Otherwise, Turkey has no incentive to carry out the reforms if we have already closed the door beforehand. That is what we are saying.

Naturally, we also acknowledge that each state in this process, every EU member state as well as Turkey itself, will at some point have to take this decision – each through its own process: referendum or parliamentary ratification. But everyone will have to take a stance at that time.

But by then we will not be judging the Turkey of today, but a Turkey that has completed the accession process. A Turkey that will have carried out all of these reforms we are talking about, and that will essentially be a European Turkey and not the Turkey we are talking about today.

Ms. Boitard:
Yes, but is the Greek side looking at the possibility, let’s say, of there not being a process for full accession and there being precisely a special relationship. That is, does the proposal for the Summit Meeting hold if we are not heading for reaffirmation of this position?

Mr. Delavekouras: In our view, the matter of a special relationship is essentially nonexistent given that we have express commitments from the European Union to an accession process that provides for full membership. And that is what we are trying to reaffirm.

Beyond that, a special relationship falls short for the European Union as well as Turkey, because it essentially abolishes the integration perspective as we committed ourselves to carrying it out.

Mr. Berberakis: So it is a procedural matter; they will freeze one way or the other if Turkey doesn't fulfill its obligations.

Mr. Delavekouras: As I already told you, it is a reality.

Ms. Boudouri: As you said, you put the recent statements of Turkish Minister of State Egemen Bagis down to PR. Do you also attribute to PR the ambiguous statements of Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Prime Minister Erdogan about progress in exploratory talks and their topics of discussion?

Mr. Delavekouras
: The topic of discussion at the exploratory talks is well known. We are not yet in a position to be able to say whether specific progress has been achieved; progress that can be announced, but we are continuing consultations within the framework of exploratory talks in order to achieve this progress.

Beyond that, the topic of the negotiations and the declared goal is the delimitation of the continental shelf between the two countries.

Mr. Athanasopoulos: Mr. Spokesman, can we come back to the freezing. You said it will in effect freeze. If it freezes for all intents and purposes, and Turkey hasn’t done what it should, what are you willing to do?

Mr. Delavekouras: But I just told you that there will not be an accession process because it will have been frozen. We do not want a frozen accession process.

Mr. Athanasopoulos: (off microphone) …let’s say that there is no Summit, then nothing happens and the process is frozen in June, what do you intend to do?

Mr. Delavekouras: Your question presupposes that there will be a Summit which will not lead to anything and that then we will ask ourselves what we should do.

I am not going to go into this reasoning, because at the moment we are making a positive proposal which says that faced with the stalemate panning out with a process which in essence is moving at a snail’s pace and faced with the given fact that Turkey will hold elections in June, we are proposing a Summit which will give political momentum to, and breathe new life into, this process.

This is our proposal.

Mr. Athanassopoulos: I am telling you, if there is no progress in June and there is no agreement because let’s assume the French and Germans do not accept your proposal, what do you intend to do if the process remains frozen? Will you let it drag on? Will you say that Turkey has not implemented the protocol and this process must end and that its effort to accede to the European Union are a joke? What will you do? That’s what I’m asking.

Mr. Delavekouras: I do not want us to jump to conclusions.

The reasoning is to find a process which will give a fillip, which will provide the framework in which we will move, expecting Turkey to take specific steps, meet its obligations, carry out the reforms it ought to carry out, and the European Union, for its part, will pave the way for full accession, which is our goal, our target.

Mr. Fourlis: Mr. Spokesman, as far as I am aware, the European Union has not closed any road for Turkey – the road is already wide open, unless you don't see it, that is.

Furthermore, Turkey – even in the past two weeks – received proposals, from what we learn, very specific proposals from Brussels. One of which was – from what I understand – to start complying with its obligation under the Ankara Protocol, in order to dislodge the accession process, which has stalled due to Turkey itself.

Are you suggesting something else? Do you have any specific proposal or are you generally saying let us hold a Summit? If you have another proposal, why are you not saying it, so that we know it? Unless you are suggesting Turkey not implement the Ankara Protocol, while we still move ahead and give a push to the process?

Mr. Delavekouras
: But I have already said several times today that Turkey is being called upon to implement the Ankara Protocol; that Turkey is being called upon to meet its obligations.

Our proposal, I repeat, is for an ad hoc EU-Turkey Summit, at which we will have the opportunity to speak openly and look reality in the face.

Mr. Fourlis: And you will sit around the table at the Summit wonderfully, leaders all around. What will the Greek Prime Minister say there? Can you tell us?

Mr. Delavekouras: He will suggest the creation – as I have already told you and is also mentioned in the Foreign Minister’s speech – the creation of a new Helsinki, a new timeframe including specific obligations, specific commitments and specific deadlines for their implementation for the entire spectrum of Turkey’s accession process.

It will give a new fillip which will provide for an open door to Turkey's full accession into the European Union. No one is talking about an extension. There is no question of an extension. What we are describing is the reality of the situation. The reality of the situation says that at the moment there are no longer any chapters to open up. As long as Turkey does not implement its obligations, this will mean that the chapters of the accession process will remain frozen. This means that there is no accession process.

And we are saying that this is not to the benefit of the European Union or Greece. We want there to be a real accession process, not a purported one.

Mr. Fourlis: Let us take your scenario, the good scenario, the Summit takes place and Turkey does not comply. Are you going to block the process? We are asking you something very specific and you are beating about the bush.

I will rephrase my previous question to make this easier for you. In June, following the Turkish elections, the process remains frozen. Turkey has not made progress anywhere. And despite all that, your proposal is accepted for a Summit to be held. And Turkey does not budge from what it has been saying, what is your position?

Will you let it remain frozen or are you going to break the ice to dissolve the accession course? That’s what I am asking.

Mr. Delavekouras
: Yes and I am saying once again that there will no longer be a process because it will have been frozen. There will be no chapters to open.

Mr. Fourlis: But it will be frozen.

Mr. Delavekouras: Yes.

Mr. Fourlis: It is one thing for it to be frozen and another thing for it not to exist.

Mr. Delavekouras
: It will be frozen.

Mr. Fourlis: So you will let it be frozen.

Mr. Delavekouras: We do not want this to happen.

Mr. Fourlis: In any event, do you rule out the possibility of Greece proposing a definitive interruption and pausing of the accession process? Is this true? You know that other European countries have been discussing this possibility very seriously.

Mr. Delavekouras: It is not like that, but, in any event, I am not going to present the position of other countries here.

Mr. Fourlis: I am not asking you what other countries are doing. I am asking you: Does Greece rule out, in any event, even if the accession process comes to a standstill as you described it, is it out of the question that Greece could propose its definitive interruption?

Mr. Delavekouras: Let me answer again that this process will be frozen for all intents and purposes because there will be no more chapters to open. Why do we need to sit and have such a long discussion in such a negative manner about a positive proposal aimed at activating, at reinvigorating Turkey’s EU accession process? I really do not understand that.

But despite all that, I have been describing the reality to you and the reality is that, based on the given situation we are faced with, we need an initiative that will be able to give political momentum to the process. This is what we want to do. We want this process to be of substance.

Mr. Fourlis: Apart from the good scenario, there is also a bad scenario. That's life, what can we do?

Mr. Delavekouras: Of course, but visions are not realized based on bad scenarios, they are realized based on good scenarios and we have a positive course in this whole process, a leading role historically. We are the country that shaped the framework for Turkey’s accession process, that provided the framework which allows the Western Balkans speak of a European perspective today.

If we were moving based on a different logic, then nothing like that would have happened. But this is why we will continue to move based on the reasoning of positive initiatives and proposals.

Mr. Fourlis: (off microphone) You have made certain proposals, that’s great. We are asking, what will happen in one case and what will happen in the other? You are answering that this is going to happen. But you are not telling us why.

Mr. Delavekouras: I am telling you, leaps are made based on positive proposals, not bad scenarios. That’s what I’m saying.

Mr. Gogas: Have you considered the eventuality in this new partnership – let’s call it that – for there not to be…

Mr. Delavekouras: Don't call it that.

Mr. Gogas: Anyway, call it what you want. For there not to be all the obligations for Turkey that had been noted in community texts so far?

Mr. Delavekouras: No.

Mr. Gogas: You are categorical.

Mr. Delavekouras: Yes.

Mr. Gogas: And a second thing: Given that Turkey is at the moment faced with the hurdle of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus, the implementation of the Ankara Protocol.

Mr. Delavekouras: It should not be a hurdle.

Mr. Gogas: That is how it sees it. Why is the Greek government essentially giving another extension to this obligation. Because if your proposal is implemented, then June will probably become September, for it to become next June and then I don’t know when. Have you thought about this eventuality?

And a second question, to put an end to this and not take the floor again. Following the last meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy, you announced that a special committee will be set up, comprised of academics and ambassadors who will look into a new strategic concept on foreign policy. Is there anything specific on this Committee?

Mr. Delavekouras: Let me start with your second question by saying that the first plan, the basis for this dialogue with all relevant participants in the shaping of a foreign policy concept will start with the Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter will offer the basis and then the second phase, which you referred to, will take place.

With regard to your first question, let me once again say that given facts are well known. At the moment, Turkey’s accession course does not have momentum as things stand. There are not even chapters which we can open. This is a given fact; a reality.

What we are saying is that it will create the momentum to overcome all this. What we are trying to achieve and want is a political commitment. You are saying that we are giving an extension. There is no question of extension, because there will be no process, it will be frozen.

Mr. Gogas: That is, what are we putting first on the scales, if we consider it more important, is it the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus or Turkey's accession course? Does the Greek Foreign Ministry consider that it is a new breath of life to Turkey's accession course, rather than the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus? There is an issue here.

Mr. Delavekouras: No, it is not a true dilemma, it is a false dilemma, because what you are saying is either have a stalemate or not have a stalemate. In order for there not to be a stalemate, Turkey must comply with its obligations vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus. That is what we are saying. So if there is an accession process, this will mean that Turkey has complied with its obligations vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus.

Mr. Athanasopoulos: Have you consulted with Nicosia on making this proposal? That is my first question. And a second one: You mentioned Turkey’s obligations regarding good neighbourly relations etc. with reference to community texts, ok, but again you mentioned very probably a new Helsinki. My question is: Will you set a target date for the resolution of Greek-Turkish issues following such a Summit meeting in order to breathe new life into the process? Will there be a specific deadline? You remember very well the original Helsinki, which no longer exists. So obligations are not noted down in the same manner.

Mr. Delavekoura
s: Our wish is to set timeframes and target dates on each subject and obviously also on issues of good neighbourly relations. But I cannot tell you right now what form a political declaration – as the outcome of an EU-Turkey Summit – would take.

But precisely the reasoning we have been proposing is for there to be specific timeframes and target dates within which Turkey should comply with its obligations and at the same time move forward on its accession process, moving towards the prospect of its full accession into the European Union.

With regard to your first question – whether there has been a communication between the Foreign Minister and his Cypriot counterpart – I think that the issue was touched upon yesterday at the meeting between the Prime Minister and President Christofias. We will of course continue our cooperation together with the Republic of Cyprus precisely in order to provide the content of this process in view of June or autumn.

Mr. Athanasopoulos
: (off microphone regarding the position of the Republic of Cyprus)

Mr. Delavekouras: There has already been a statement by the Alternate Government Spokesman and we will continue our contacts.

Ms. Ristovska: On the name issue, a few days ago, Foreign Minister Milososki said that it would be good to have a new meeting with Mr. Nimetz. How do you see things now, has anything changed, is the time ripe for a solution, because Mr. Nimetz said two or three months ago in New York that the time is not right yet for a new proposal. Do you see that things have changed lately, following the NATO Summit? That is my first question.

And a second question. According to some reports, Greece has been blocking, has been doing things on purpose, that is Athens is making Skopje abandon the negotiations on the name issue. Certain scenarios, that is.

Mr. Delavekouras: I think that my answer will be able to give you the information you want on both questions. Mr. Milososki is not aiding the process. His role is not constructive. At every given opportunity, Mr. Milososki is attacking Greece in a provocative manner and aggravates the process within the framework of the United Nations.

I cannot consider such statements as sincere about progress within the framework of the United Nations, when at every opportunity he has been trying to paint Greece in dark colors to FYROM public opinion and, in essence, undermine the prospects of these negotiations.

For our part, and this has to be made clear and we have been saying it at every given opportunity and you see it from the fact that we have been refusing to answer these provocative statements continuously made by Mr. Milososki, we want to see progress. For there to be progress, there must be a different climate in relations between the two countries.

If Mr. Milososki is systematically trying to turn his country’s public opinion against Greece, then it is obvious we are not going to be successful. This has to stop and we have to concentrate on the process, and the process is the negotiations within the framework of the United Nations.

This is what we want and we would like – if we could, even tomorrow – for your country to start negotiations with the European Union and become a member of NATO. It is our true wish because it is part of our strategic planning for establishing security and stability in our region, but also because we are neighbours and we will be living side by side at the end of the day. We will be partners and allies and this is why we should be able to reach a solution on this issue as soon as possible.

But the precondition for that is for us to have a fundamentally good relationship. For these provocations to stop and for both of us to take part in the process in a constructive manner.

Mr. Fourlis: Could you or could you not make an assessment as to whether there is progress on the issue of territorial waters and the continental shelf, given that this discussion has been opened lately – whether you like it or not – and there has been a position on the part of the Turkish Prime Minister and the Turkish Foreign Minister.

Mr. Delavekouras: I think that this discussion is ill-timed. The process is still ongoing and a new meeting will take place in the coming days for exploratory contacts. But at the moment, we are not yet in a position to announce anything. We are really continuing to work towards the delimitation of the continental shelf which is also the subject of these discussions.

This is what we want to do. We are focused on that. The two governments have shown that they are giving a political boost to this process. But beyond that, we are not yet in a position to announce anything. We will continue the effort and rest assured that when we have something, we will of course announce it.

Mr. Fourlis: We know that the confidentiality of the process has been preserved, but with regard to the methodology, could you perhaps tell us if you have reached a conclusion on whether the issue of the delimitation of the continental shelf goes through the issue of territorial waters?

Mr. Delavekouras: I have told you before in previous briefings that I am not going to make any statements on the content of exploratory contacts. They are governed by the rule of confidentiality and we must all respect that.

Are there any more questions? Thank you very much.

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