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Interview of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on STAR Channel with journalist Mara Zacharea - main points (Athens, 31.05.21)

Tuesday, 01 June 2021

"Turkey, being under economic and diplomatic pressure, came to the negotiating table, without Greece backing down from its firm positions, and this leaves room for optimism about the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations," stated Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis today, during an interview on the prime-time newscast of STAR channel, with the journalist Mara Zacharea, on the occasion of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Athens.

In particular, Mr. Varvitsiotis reminded that Turkey has found itself in a difficult position, having escalated its confrontation with Greece excessively in 2020, due to instrumentalization of migration in Evros, and its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean resulting in falling out with both the European Union and the United States. "The choice made by Kyriakos Mitsotakis and our government to Europeanize our bilateral issues and place Turkey on every European Council Summit agenda has been a policy that put Ankara under great pressure," he pointed out.

In addition, the Alternate Minister underscored that Çavuşoğlu’s visit today disproved those who portrayed the expression of firm Greek positions by Nikos Dendias in Ankara as a provocative action, which would undermine the relations between Greece and Turkey. On the contrary, he added, the political dialogue continued at all levels immediately after the Minister’s visit to Ankara.

Finally, answering a question about the minority in Thrace, Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that, as it is well known at international level, the record of minority rights in Greece is very satisfactory, with members of the minority enjoying favourable treatment when it comes to acquiring positions in the Greek public sector or being admitted to the University. In contrast to the Muslim Greek minority that grew, expanded and prospered in the 100 years since the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, the Greek minority shrunk, was persecuted and today it is far from thriving in Istanbul. "This fact highlights a major difference, and this is the reality," the Alternate Minister stated.

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