Today: Sunday, 26 May 2024 year

Greece will not discuss issues of its sovereignty with Turkey.

Greece will not discuss issues of its sovereignty with Turkey.

Greece will not discuss issues of its sovereignty with Turkey, including ownership of the islands and their demilitarization, which Ankara insists on. This was stated by Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis in an interview with the Sunday edition of the Greek newspaper Vradini.

The journalist asked the minister whether there could be at least a minimum agreement between the two countries in conditions when Athens considers the only bilateral controversial issue to be the delimitation of exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and Ankara puts forward maximalist demands.

“Issues of sovereignty cannot be discussed during the dialogue,” the minister replied. “Sovereignty is an inalienable, inalienable right of the country, and all important issues related to the existence of the state are based on it. Therefore, we will not discuss them. We would like to be able to resolve the issue of delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone and, if this is not possible, to refer the matter to international jurisdiction when suitable conditions arise. In this sense, I think it is important to very specifically define the issue that can reach the Hague (International Court of Justice in The Hague). No other issue can be the content of a compromise agreement between the parties.”

Asked about his expectations for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ meeting on Monday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gerapetritis said that, in his opinion, “meetings that take place between the leaders of two neighboring states do not necessarily bring significant results.”

“We should meet periodically, assess the progress of our bilateral relations, determine a schedule for next steps and, of course, assess the international situation in our region and in the world in general. I think we should enter into the logic of normalizing relations between Greece and Turkey so that we can simply discuss, and such discussions would not necessarily be considered large-scale news. I think that recently we have established good channels of communication in such a way that the disagreements that obviously exist do not lead to crises,” the foreign minister explained.

Gerapetritis was also asked whether the two countries were at the beginning of some kind of approach on Aegean issues after a year of negotiations and a positive climate in relations with Turkey.

“Over the past year, we have managed to achieve relative peace in our region,” Gerapetritis responded.

It is important that we have virtually no violations of our airspace [by Turkish military aircraft], and it is also important that we have coordination to limit and practically eliminate illegal immigration flows” he added.