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Interview of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on REAL FM 97.8 with Nikos Chatzinikolaou (Athens, 01.06.2021) – Main points

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis called the forthcoming meeting between Prime Minister Mitsotakis and President Erdogan a “positive step” for Greek-Turkish relations, in an interview on REAL FM 97.8 with Nikos Chatzinikolaou, adding that it is better to sit at the negotiating table than to have tension on the ground. He also said that Greece will continue to put pressure on Turkey to respect the decisions of the European Council while keeping open a window of opportunity for dialogue.

Assessing Mr. Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Athens, the Alternate Minister noted that “it went smoothly, without any turbulence which some would have thought might happen”. “I think that the message sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, that Greece has no problem to speak to any audience about issues of concern in its relations with Turkey, led to a climate that I would not call conciliatory, but one of softer tones than we are used to from the Turkish political leadership”, he said. Responding to criticism from the opposition, Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that at the meeting of the two Ministers yesterday, the Greek side raised all the issues that concern us, the continental shelf, the EEZ and the violations, reminding that Nikos Dendias also raised these issues publicly in Ankara.

Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed, among other things, that Greece managed to internationalise Greek-Turkish disputes, making them part of EU-Turkey relations. “I think that Turkey is in a difficult position, which is why it has chosen to tone down its rhetoric in the Greek-Turkish dispute, following its diplomatic isolation and all the negative messages arriving from Brussels, the European capitals and Washington. This does not imply that the issues between us have been resolved. A visit that goes smoothly does not mean that we have reached the point where we have resolved all outstanding issues”, he noted.


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