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Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna (06.09.2022)

In our very long history, we have faced far more serious threats. And to be clear, we completely reject neo-οttoman “dailikia” (bullying). And I use a word of Turkish origin to make this perfectly clear.
However, I regret to say that Turkish officials make outrageous statements against Greece, against the Greek people, and against the government of my country on a daily basis.
You answered in terms of the European Union’s part, but I would like a follow-up on the NATO part because we are talking about two of NATO’s strongest countries and the strongest in the Alliance’s southeastern flank.
We have stressed that instability in Libya directly affects Europe and the Sahel region, and we are doing our best for Europe and for the world in this region.
As I informed you, I will be visiting Chad in a few days and I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize how important environmental initiatives are to us, especially being aware of the French sensitivities in this regard.
But there is a real fact -let us not beat around the bush, there’s no point-, that the Turkish side has been making increasingly outrageous and utterly unacceptable statements in recent days.
We discussed the situation in Ukraine, the consequences of the Russian invasion, the geostrategic dimension, energy security, and the humanitarian dimension, which is our primary concern, considering that there is a sizeable Greek community living on the Black Sea’s northern shores.
The organization of the “OUR OCEAN” Conference in 2024 is a focal point of our efforts. It aims to protect the marine environment and biodiversity.Thank you.
And we have complete faith in our alliances and our partners’ stance. In the case of Ukraine, the European Union has already demonstrated that threats and invasions that violate International Law are met with unprecedented unity and direct response.
In this regard, we discussed the Western Balkans and I had the opportunity to emphasize that European integration is a one-way street for the consolidation of peace, security, and stability in the region and that we, Greeks will continue to actively support this process.
France and Greece are both committed to the European Integration process and actively support the European Union’s enlargement to include countries that share the same principles and values.
And following my colleague Ms. Kourouni’s question, are we as Greek diplomacy covered by the support of our partners?
Thank you for the update you gave me on the Sahel, a region in which France has and will continue to have a leading role and vast experience. We also discussed more generally developments on the African continent, which is a priority for Europe, France, and also for us.
We are also always in favour of constructive dialogue on the basis of International Law.
I doubt that as an experienced diplomat you have ever encountered such a high number of violations anywhere on the planet.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Dendias, you stated that you expect our partners to stand with Greece when it comes to Turkey. I would like to know if you have this feeling and if they have demonstrated their support.
My dear Catherine, I would like once again to thank you for your visit to Athens and express the hope that we’ll meet again soon. Thank you very much for your presence here today.
Turkey is attempting to turn back the clock of history, to revive the Ottoman Empire.
N. DENDIAS: I have to admit that I have not seen the latest statements made by President Erdogan to which you are referring. So I will refrain from commenting on that until I read the whole text.
What I have to say is that Greece always invokes and acts in accordance with International Law and the International Law of the Sea.
Things become much more difficult when one has a neighbour who does not accept the same framework as the necessary condition for resolving differences.
We discussed the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and our support for the International Atomic Energy Agency. This, I believe, is critical for the whole of Europe and the entire world.
The mere mention of Greek islands being occupied demonstrates the level of Turkish statements.
I believe France can have a significant impact on our efforts to raise awareness in our societies about the protection of the Mediterranean environment.
Furthermore, Turkey occupies the territory of a European country, of Cyprus, it is not applying the sanctions imposed on Russia, and instrumentalizes migration.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Athens today. The frequency of our contacts indicates the strategic nature of relations between France and Greece.
But we are not going to be dragged into this delirium.  We are a modern democracy, a European country committed to International Law, the United Nations Charter, and international conventions.
N. DENDIAS: Thank you for the question. I believe the answer is as follows. Both the High Representative and the Czech Presidency have issued direct statements commenting in an utterly negative way on Turkey’s recent unacceptable, outrageous positions and its overall attitude.
JOURNALIST: Good evening from me as well. I have a question mainly for Mr. Dendias and if Ms. Colonna would like to comment.
We also had the opportunity to discuss Libya in light of the decision of the Security Council – which is currently meeting under the French Presidency- to appoint the new Senegalese Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.
I would also like to thank you for the discussion about your contacts in Turkey and I would like to state that I fully endorse the position that you expressed to our Turkish counterpart, that there should be no escalation and no escalatory rhetoric.
Maps appear with Greek islands marked as Turkish islands.  It is claimed by the Turkish side that these islands are under Greek occupation.
And let me recall that opposite the Aegean islands there is the largest landing fleet in Europe as well as a full-fledged Turkish Army.
And of course, the Turkish side violates our national sovereignty on a daily basis. This year there have been 6,100 violations of our national airspace, 157 overflights over Greek territory, and 1000 violations of our territorial waters.
There are repeated statements, most recently today, while I believe you were still in Turkey, that “they can come suddenly one night”, that is, invade these islands.
But I would advise anyone who dreams of attacks and conquests to consider 3 or 4 times. We are capable of defending our country, our territorial independence and integrity.
But our relationship is actually also rooted in shared principles and values and has a solid foundation in International and European law.Minister, just a few hours ago, during his visit to Bosnia, the Turkish President was asked directly whether Turkey intends- I’m reading the question mot à mot- to organize a military operation against Greece. I think this is the first time that this has happened. And the Turkish President’s answer is “what I am saying is not a dream. If we say that we can come suddenly one night we mean that we can come suddenly one night”.
And we expect our Allies and partners to support what is self-evident.
It is part of the effort we are making along with the green transition in our economy, and concerns the Mediterranean, as does MED 9 in which we are participating together with France.
Just yesterday, it was also stated that Greece is not equal to Turkey and cannot be its interlocutor. Turkey threatens Greece with war; a casus belli has been issued against us if we exercise our rights as per International Law and the International Law of the Sea.
I reiterate the importance we attach to the Strategic Partnership Agreement, signed about a year ago.
The Greek side believes that the European Union has taken a clear stand. Indeed, you must have seen Turkey’s responses. In our view, they are also unacceptable.
Consequently, I have the feeling that the European Union is fully aware of what is at stake. And it fully understands that the Greek side is doing everything possible within the framework of International Law and the International Law of the Sea, but that one cannot act alone.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statements following his meeting with French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna (06.09.2022)Dear Catherine,
We speak in plain words and say that the Turkish side’s actions and statements are not acceptable; they are unheard-of and deserve condemnation, but we are neither intimidated nor afraid.
For our part, we will fully support Mr. Bathily’s efforts.

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