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Interview of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on ‘Parapolitika 90.1’, with journalist Panagiotis Tzenos - main points (7 April 2021)
“Turkey is in crisis, having gone into a tailspin both domestically and in foreign policy. We take no pleasure from our neighbour’s troubles”, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis stressed in his interview on Parapolitika 90.1, with journalist Panagiotis Tzenos.
More specifically, Mr. Varvitsiotis commented on the domestic situation in Turkey, highlighting that the country's restlessness and erratic moves could spill over into Greek-Turkish issues. “We want Turkey to be in a state of calm”, he said, adding that it has become involved in all the conflicts in its neighbourhood, bringing more friction than benefits to Turkey politics.
Asked about yesterday’s meeting between the European and Turkish sides, he noted that the awkward position the President of the Commission found herself in – with nowhere to sit during the talks – was a dramatic scene for Europe following Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women, drawing a strong reaction from European viewers.
Discussing the content of the meeting, he underscored that the talks went as Greece expected, contradicting those who had predicted that the European Commission would not say what needed to be said in Turkey. “The messages from the European Council were conveyed, and it appears that an institutional dialogue is being launched with Turkey on an issue of great interest to us: the migration issue”, he stressed. He explained that this dialogue concerns the revision of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement of 2016, highlighting that a key goal is for cooperation to be tied to funding for Turkey. “More money for better cooperation, and less money if there is less cooperation”, he said, giving the example of Turkish coast guard vessels accompanying boats carrying migrants towards Greece.
Finally, he highlighted the issue of the Customs Union, underscoring the fact that Turkey violates it systematically – which has the European Commission on the verge of withdrawing from the arrangement – and has yet to ratify the Protocol concerning Cyprus.