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Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias on Turkey’s provocative, aggressive and illegal behaviour (24 November 2020)
As you know, Turkey, escalating its provocative, aggressive and illegal behaviour, announced the extension of its seismic surveys up until 29 November.
In other words, from August until now, Turkey has been constantly intensifying its illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, flagrantly violating International Law, including the Law of the Sea.
It is trying to forcefully create faits accomplis to the detriment of EU member states.
It is ignoring the clear stances and decisions of the EU, as well as the appeals of the international community.
Unfortunately, Turkey missed yet another major opportunity to cease its repeated illegal conduct while there was still a point in doing so.
It is now obvious and becoming a commonplace in Europe that Turkey has chosen, by its actions, to undermine International Law and Europe’s objectives.
It has chosen to behave as a revisionist, destabilizing actor that jeopardises the security of the immediate and wider region, as well as the priorities and values expressed and promoted by the EU.
Although the signals we saw from the outset left little room for optimism, Greece has, throughout this period, systematically stated that it is prepared to enter into dialogue if the provocations stop.
It is our firm conviction that this is the only lawful way to resolve our dispute with our neighbour Turkey.
In the same spirit, delaying its decisions on measures and sanctions, the EU has stated its readiness to consider a positive agenda of actions and policies toward Turkey, under the same condition however:
A definitive end to Turkey’s illegal actions.
Through its new illegal activities, Ankara is sabotaging the prospects for dialogue with our country.
Unfortunately, it is leaving no room for any positive agenda at the upcoming European Council.
Having refused, through its actions, to make any move that would signal even the slightest change in its stance towards Greece and Cyprus, and a willingness to respond to the EU’s appeals, Turkey itself is closing the window of opportunity that was opened through Greece’s positive stance and the decisions of the European Council.
To date, Turkey has been given every opportunity.
Turkey has failed to respond.
Any deceitful show of supposed “good will” at the last moment, any “positive” gesture made on mere pretext, will be aimed solely at improving its image of repeated perpetration of unacceptable and illegal behaviour.
This time, regardless of any last minute statements, it will not be easy for Turkey to fool the EU.
The European Union is not naive.
Greece, of course, remains steadily faithful to the idea of sincere dialogue.
But this requires an interlocutor that has proven that its observance of International Law is a long-term choice and not a flag of convenience.