Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greece intensifies diplomatic efforts ahead of next week’s EU Summit, hoping to get a stronger policy towards Turkey. Although no sanctions are expected to be imposed, Greece hopes for an improved statement.
Foreign minister Nikos Dendias and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg discussed the situation in the eastern Mediterranean in a phone call Saturday morning, ministry sources say.
The two discussed progress towards creating a mechanism to de-escalate tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey. Greek and Turkish military officers will meet again next week with NATO Military Committee Chairman Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.
Meanwhile it was confirmed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Greece next week. Pompeo’s visit reflect’s Washington’s desire to de-escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.Pompeo will also visit the Souda naval base next Sunday.
Besides Greece-Turkish relations, Pompeo will discuss military cooperation with Greek officials. A meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is highly likely.
The Secretary of State had visited Cyprus on the 12th of September, where he made statements in favor of dialogue among parties involved in east Med tensions.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on Friday appealed to his European counterparts for the creation of a list of potential sanctions to be imposed on Turkey if necessary.
Dendias made his comments during a joint press conference in Prague with his Czech counterpart Tomas Petricek.
“We don’t want them to be imposed now on Turkey,” Dendias said of the potential sanctions, “ but to be there so it is clear what will happen if Ankara returns to the logic of illegal acts.”
Dendias added that he and Petricek had asked for greater protection of the European Union’s external borders following the migration crisis in Evros in March. “We all remember Turkey’s effort then to weaponized the migration [issue] and to pressurize both the EU and Greece,” he said, adding that, “we proved then that we can seriously and responsibly defend Europe’s borders.
The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean was also a topic of discussion, Dendias said, as was Turkey’s illegal activities in Greece’s continental shelf as well as violations of Cyprus’s sovereignty.
“I think our common goal is that the solution to problems should be dialogue,” he said, adding however that discussions should take place in the framework of international law and the Law of the Sea.
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The Greek government condemned a Greek newspaper’s offensive language against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying “offensive language is contrary to our values.”
“Free speech and independence of the press are cherished by the Greek people and protected in our Constitution. This however, does not negate the responsibility to respect a foreign leader,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a comment published on his official Twitter account.
On Friday, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Greece’s ambassador to the country to lodge a formal complaint.
The controversial headline – telling “Mr. Erdogan” to “f**k off” in Turkish, with the insult translated into English with an asterisk below – appeared in Friday’s issue of the Dimokratia newspaper.
The headline also prompted a reaction from the Greek Foreign Ministry, which said in an announcement that freedom of the press “does not negate the obligation to refrain from insulting the personality of any individual, particularly a foreign leader.”
“The use of offensive language is contrary to our country’s political culture and can only be condemned,” the ministry added.