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Interview of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on MEGA TV’s ‘BABEL’, with Nikos Filippidis (27 April 2021)

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis discussed all of the recent developments in Greek-Turkish issues in an interview yesterday evening on MEGA TV’s ‘BABEL’, with journalist Nikos Filippidis, underscoring that Turkish provocations cannot go unanswered. He also stressed that Greece’s goal is not to increase tensions in its relations with Turkey, but to hold a constructive dialogue, provided Turkey avoids provocative unilateral actions.

At the same time, the Alternate Minister highlighted that our country has succeeded in keeping Turkey on the European Council’s agenda, imposing time horizons for Turkey to comply with and to maintain a calm climate while avoiding provocative unilateral actions.

Regarding the visit of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs to Ankara, Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that “the instructions issued by Kyriakos Mitsotakis are to say the same things abroad that we say at home.” “We cannot hide behind pleasantries when there are serious problems. And the Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed these problems out fully and frankly, without provoking, though he was provoked in Ankara,” he stressed, adding that the Minister was very right to do so. “Over the past 18 months, we have experienced an aggressive escalation in Turkey’s stance, starting with ‘blue homeland’, the increase in migrant flows in the Aegean, instrumentalization of the refugee crisis, ongoing illegal drilling in the Cypriot EEZ, the activities of the Oruc Reis last year, and, of course, the Turkey-Libya memorandum. All of this shows that Turkey’s stance is that it can do whatever it likes in the region, disputing international law and the boundaries of states. These moves cannot go unanswered, as at the same time they were accompanied by extremely aggressive rhetoric,” Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed.

Regarding the Cyprus issue, the Alternate Minister underscored that Greece remains committed to the well-known principle of Greek foreign policy that Athens supports and stands by Nicosia. He spoke of a very difficult framework taking shape at the five-sided talks due to the stance of the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish sides in favour of the creation of two states, and he expressed his concern at the EU’s absence from the negotiating table.