ENGLISH

Foreign ministry on Erzurum visit, relations with Turkey

Δημοσίευση 14 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 10:25 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Foreign ministry on Erzurum visit, relations with Turkey
Facebook Twitter Whatsapp

Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Thursday underlined that Prime Minister George Papandreou's decision to go ahead with a visit to Erzurum, in spite of Turkish air space violations preceding the visit, was "highly symbolic". In this way, Greece had shown its willingness to improve relations but also stated the problems in a clear way, he added.

Foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras on Thursday underlined that Prime Minister George Papandreou's decision to go ahead with a visit to Erzurum, in spite of Turkish air space violations preceding the visit, was "highly symbolic". In this way, Greece had shown its willingness to improve relations but also stated the problems in a clear way, he added.

Regarding the flights by Turkish planes over Greek territory, Delavekouras described these as "unacceptable" and said they raised the risk of a dangerous incident but also cast doubts on whether Turkey sincerely desired to normalise relations.

He noted that Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas had contacted his Turkish counterpart twice on the phone prior to the premier's visit, stressing that the flights were unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

Delavekouras underlined that Greece did not let such incidents slide and that every violation and infringement by Turkey resulted in an immediate response from the foreign and defence ministries to assert Greece's sovereignty. In spite of this, the premier had chosen not to cancel the visit but instead go and state the issues in a clear way, he added.

He also highlighted the significance of a promise by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to improve bilateral relations and the steps taken in this direction in recent months, starting with the High-Level Cooperation Council and a series of agreements that included those on illegal migration.

Under this Turkey will accept 1,000 requests a year from Greece for the return of illegal migrants. The spokesman noted that this agreement appeared to be going ahead and that the meetings between the two premiers had allowed Turkey to realise how serious this issue was.

"We want to see the completion of the readmission agreements between the EU and Turkey and, until that time, strict observance of the existing agreement between Turkey and Greece and with Bulgaria," he added.

Concerning the exploratory talks underway between the two sides, Delavekouras noted that the two prime ministers had asked that these be intensified. If progress was not possible in a reasonable space of time, the Greek position was that the two sides should resort to international courts.

Delavekouras insisted that the discussion was confined only to delineating the Aegean continental shelf and refused to comment on reports concerning the content of the exploratory talks, stressing that the discussions were confidential.

He stressed that Greece's declared policy was to delineate the marine zones with all its neighbours.

"This is how the agreement with Albania arose - in spite of the problems that emerged with the country's constitutional court - and negotiations are underway with Libya and Egypt. Our relationship with Cyprus allows us, whenever we judge that this is in the interest of both countries, to move quickly and finally, exploratory talks with Turkey."

He clarified in response to questions that the possibility of linking the EU with the Leviathan natural gas reserves with a pipeline passing through Greece had not been discussed in talks on Wednesday between visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Droutsas, noting that the two sides had only indicated their willingness to cooperate in the energy sector.

Papandreou cites hospitality, positive climate during recent Turkey visit

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's office on Thursday announced that he spoke by telephone earlier in the afternoon with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where the former expressed his appreciation for the hospitality and the positive climate that prevailed during his recent visit to Erzurum, in NE Turkey.