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Turkey is Threatening Peace in East Med, Greek FM Warns in Cyprus Visit

Nikos Dendias meets his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia on Friday. Credit: AMNA

Turkey is “threatening peace, security and stability” in the Mediterranean region, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias charged on Friday during an official visit to Cyprus.

Following a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, Dendias said that Ankara on the one hand, is striving to create faits accomplis and, on the other hand, is trying to avoid measures being taken against it.

He also noted that Turkey’s recent gestures toward a supposed de-escalation of the situation were not convincing.

“For this reason, we have jointly called on all the other EU member-states to assume their responsibilities,” he stated. “They must take decisions such that Turkey is led to a path of genuine de-escalation and to a constructive dialogue on the sole basis we are able to accept, that basis being international law and the Law of the Sea.”

Dendias also referred to the Cyprus issue, saying this “continues to be a top priority for Greek foreign policy.”

Greece has indicated its readiness for a resumption of Cyprus talks during a recent visit of the UN special envoy for Cyprus Jane Holl Lute, he noted, “but (only) from the point where (talks) stopped at Crans Montana in July 2017, and on the basis of what was agreed at the meeting between President Anastasiades and the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Berlin in November 2019.”

“We also repeated in the clearest possible terms our condemnation of Turkey’s unilateral actions in Varosha, actions that blatantly violate UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.

The Greek Foreign Affairs Minister also participated in videoconference discussions at the annual Mediterranean Dialogues (MED), under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a UN special session on Friday, while on an official visit to Nicosia.

At the MED, he participated in the panel on “Shared Prosperity and Migration,” together with his fellow ministers from Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Portugal.

Among other issues, he spoke of “being in crisis with Turkey the last 18 months, the longest period of constant tension” since the 70s, he said, and noted that Turkey is no longer interested in becoming member of the EU but is “going backwards quickly, with neo-Ottoman tendencies.”

He spoke of steps to ensure that there is balance in the East Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea in terms of promoting energy projects and protecting the environment. He also welcomed the currently discussed new EU mechanism on migration, but added “there is a limit to the number” of migrants, and Greece cannot take them all in.

(With information from AMNA)

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