Greece raised the issue of war reparations from Germany and the export of German-made submarines to Turkey during a meeting in Athens on Friday by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock.
“For the Greek government and Greek society, the issue of German reparations remains open,” Dendias said, adding that settling this issue was a matter of principle and would be mutually beneficial for both countries, significantly improving Greek-German relations.
He also relayed Athens’ concerns about the exports of German armaments to Turkey, especially the submarines, stressing that the Greek position was clear:
“These submarines risk changing the balance of power,” he pointed out, and while Greece had the same submarines, it was “neither threatening its neighbors nor behaving as a revisionist force.”
He also noted that Turkey, despite being a member of NATO, was openly threatening Greece with war, constantly violating its sovereignty and sovereign rights, and illegally occupying the territory of Cyprus, an EU member-state.
“The islands of the Aegean are Greek territory and no one has the right to dispute this,” the Baerbock emphasized on her part.
“My own government will not allow there to be any doubt that we stand in solidarity,” she added.
Earlier, Baerbock met with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis in talks focusing on the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, migration, and Turkey’s provocations.
Mitsotakis presented Greece’s positions on dealing with the energy crisis and his proposal to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently. The creation of a voluntary mechanism through which industrial consumers would be compensated for the reduction in the use of gas and electricity was also discussed.
Moreover, he outlined steps taken by his conservative government to turn Greece into a gateway for the transfer of energy to the EU.
Mitsotakis also briefed the German foreign minister about the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations.
He reiterated Greece’s firm position that channels of communication with Turkey should remain open provided that both sides show respect for international law and good neighborly relations.
Mitsotakis stressed that Turkey’s provocations and actions that challenge Greek sovereignty are a threat to regional stability and cannot be tolerated by the EU either.
Turning to migration, the Prime Minister reiterated that Greece guards its borders, which are also the EU’s external border, in line with international law and human rights principles.
Greece deserves solidarity in protecting EU borders, says Germany’s FM
On Thursday, Germany’s top diplomat visited refugees at a camp in Greece after stressing that the EU has to do more to support Greece as they deal with illegal border crossings.
She also visited a Holocaust memorial in Athens before sitting down with refugees at a camp west of the city.
In an interview with Ta Nea, Baerbock described Greece as one of Germany’s closest partners in Europe, saying Athens “deserves our full solidarity” when referring to the nation’s major work in protecting the EU’s external borders and its reception of refugees.
“The security of the EU ‘s external border is a joint task,” the Foreign Minister said.
“At the same time, it is not an abstract question that we must protect human rights without ifs and buts,” Baerbock said. “It is about human lives, about the fates of men, women and children.”
“If we don’t defend them here, they will perish,” she said, and “that’s why I’m promoting a common European sea rescue and rejecting pushbacks.”
Pointing to rising tensions between NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, she said “problems must be resolved through talks, not through the escalation of tensions,” a message she says will be relayed to Ankara.