Europe

'Greece can resolve disputes with Turkey to help both'

Greek foreign minister says Athens would support a solution in interest of both Greece and Turkey

Magda Panoutsopoulou   | 03.02.2020
'Greece can resolve disputes with Turkey to help both' Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias

ATHENS 

Athens and Ankara can resolve their differences to the benefit of both, said Greece’s foreign minister on Monday. 

“I truly believe that Greece and Turkey can figure things out; it is in both our interests,” Nikos Dendias said in an interview with Greek radio station Thema.

Ahead of trips to Rome on Tuesday and Malta on Wednesday, Dendias claimed that in working against Turkey’s energy exploration in the Mediterranean, Greece is not trying to create an anti-Turkish front, but one that “supports logic.”

"The Mediterranean could be a sea of cooperation,” Dendias said.

"We want the countries that have a say and concern themselves with the issues of the region to be fully informed concerning Greece's positions and to understand that we represent the side of logic. If Turkey wishes to join these countries, nobody would be happier than us."

"Implementing the rules of international law in the region helps all societies. Turkey does not always understand this,” he claimed, adding that Ankara seeing things Athens’ way “is in the interests of Turkish society."

On the Turkish ship Oruc Reis exploring for energy near what Greece sees as its waters, Dendias said “this chapter” should close.

But he said the situation has gotten too much of attention from the Greek public, adding that “it is best not to give to the other side the impression that it can raise our temperature at will.”

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.

Turkey has also disputed Greece claiming expansive territorial waters.

Since spring 2019, Ankara has sent drilling vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) to the resources of the region.

Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.

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