Bold agenda for Greek-Turkish relations

Fri, 14 Jul 2023 8:26 GMT
PM refers to positive results of meeting with Erdogan at NATO summit in Vilnius and way forward.
Bold agenda for Greek-Turkish relations

A day after his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the promotion of a “bold agenda” in Greek-Turkish relations with the ultimate aim of bringing the basic bilateral dispute, namely the delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

“Even if we do not manage to achieve this, the preservation of a good climate between the two countries – which on the one hand will allow us not to have unnecessary tensions, not to have violations, which in the past have always forced us to react – will allow us to build on the positive agenda. That in itself is an important achievement,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with Skai TV on Thursday.

In response to a question about the possibility of criticisms of the discussion process on the way to The Hague, he noted that “any agreement of this type could potentially, yes, involve some retreats from certain positions which can be the starting point of a negotiation.”

“But the question is: Will we be left with this dispute unresolved if history offers us a chance to resolve it? We will resolve it on terms that are obviously compatible with the defense of national interests.”

Moreover, the Greek PM noted that “if we ever reached this point, Parliament and the parties would have a major role to play.”

He stressed, however, that the whole discussion on the appeal to The Hague is premature as the framework of the political dialogue is still being explored by both sides.

“Exploratory talks are one option, but there are other options as well. Since the political dialogue is at the level of political superiors – the minister, possibly the competent deputy minister – what we want first and foremost is open channels of communication and a relationship of trust,” Mitsotakis said, essentially confirming the clear preference for politics over any technical process.

As for the issues that can be discussed between the two sides, apart from the basic difference, Mitsotakis included the migration problem and economic cooperation.

Regarding F-16 sales to Ankara, he cited the congressional view that any sale of equipment to Turkey cannot be used to the detriment of any other US ally, let alone a NATO member-country.


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