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Politics: FM: No secret diplomacy with Turkey

Δημοσίευση 11 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 12:58 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Politics: FM: No secret diplomacy with Turkey
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The government on Monday strongly denied opposition accusations of secret diplo-macy with Turkey, or talks on "co-exploitation of the Aegean" between prime minister George Papandreou and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the latter's visit to the Turkish city of Erzurum on Friday.

The government on Monday strongly denied opposition accusations of secret diplo-macy with Turkey, or talks on "co-exploitation of the Aegean" between prime minister George Papandreou and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the latter's visit to the Turkish city of Erzurum on Friday.

Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas, replying to questions on a private TV station on Monday morning, strongly denied that Papandreou and Erdogan discussed the "so-called issue of co-exploitation in the Aegean" during the Greek PM's visit to Erzurum to address the annual conference of Turkish ambassadors abroad, by special invitation.

He also denied that the PASOK government was engaging in secret diplomacy, stressing that "no Greek government exists that does not advance the interests of Greece and its long-standing goals", and appealed for "a stop to the hypocrisy that the given government at the time is the traitor and the given opposition at the time is the ultra-patriot".

"Stop this hypocrisy. For Greece's sake," Droutsas appealed.

Droutsas said that the two prime ministers mainly discussed the problem of illegal migration, on which "agreement was reached for close cooperation", as well as bilateral, regional and international affairs and also the economic crisis.

Responding to opposition criticism, Droutsas called them "prefabricated", noting that these were voiced even before Papandreou's visit to Turkey. He stressed that the national issues are "sacred issues" which should not be subject to "communications rationales".

The foreign minister, who accompanied Papandreou to Erzurum, admitted that the prospect of canceling the visit had been examined, due to overflights by Turkish jetfighters, but stressed that the prime minister finally opted to go ahead with the visit and to speak clearly and sincerely to the important audience of Turkish ambassadors, and to continue the long and tedious effort for building confidence between the two countries.

On speculation that Greece has a wealth of hydrocarbon deposits (in the Aegean), Droutsas warned that illusions must not be cultivated, adding that "whatever can be exploited will be exploited by the government".

He also said that the process was continuing for delimitation of the continental shelf in the Aegean in the context of the exploratory contacts between the two countries, and appealed to the mass media to contribute to the correct information of the public and to not cultivate false scenarios and myths.

On opposition calls for briefing of the political parties, Droutsas said he has called a meeting of the National Council on Foreign Affairs for Tuesday, while next week he will brief parliament's standing committee on foreign affairs and defence, noting that he holds such briefings systematically.

To a relevant question, Droutsas elaborated that illegal migration was one of the main issues discussed by the two prime ministers in Erzurum.

He said that Turkey agrees with the fence decided by Greece at its border with Turkey on the Evros River, and expressed his conviction that the Turkish side will in the end also abide by the re-entry agreement aimed at stemming the flow of illegal migrants to Greece, noting that the agreement was renewed in the framework of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council meeting last May.

If the flow of illegal migrants entering Greece -- and from there to the rest of the European Union -- through Turkey is stemmed, then the EU will lift its reservations on issuing visas to Turkish citizens, which is greatly desired by Ankara and to which Greece also agrees, given that significant benefits in the tourism sector and closer cooperation would arise, Droutsas explained.

Asked if issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and Thrace were discussed by the two prime ministers, Droutsas replied in the affirmative, reiterating that there is no issue of mutuality between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moslem minority in Thrace, to which the Greek state will provide all rights that insure equality before the law, as it does for each and every Greek citizen, based on the Constitution and on the international agreements and treaties.