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Athens Outlines Six Principles in Greece-Turkey Relations

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Relations between Greece and Turkey have improved since the beginning of the year after the deadly earthquake in Turkey. Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Foreign Minister of Greece George Gerapetritis outlined on Tuesday six principles that should govern relations with Turkey.

Addressing the ‘Ellada Meta VII‘ (Greece Meta VII) conference held in Athens Gerapetritis referred to the rapprochement with Turkey following the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey that claimed the lives of tens of thousands earlier this year.

First, he said, geography has placed the two countries in close proximity, which is something that “we cannot change, so we ought to handle it,” therefore “we should be discussing issues with our neighbors.”

International Law is the second principle, he added, noting that “if you use International Law selectively when international disputes arise, at some point you will find yourself facing your own history,” but “if you are consistent with the application of International Law – sooner or later you will be vindicated.”

Issues relating to national sovereignty are off the agenda, he noted as the third principle, “as an issue concerning national sovereignty will never be discussed, namely issues that have to do with a unilateral decision by Greece.”

“We must have safety valves for decompression, so that every time a disagreement arises it should not result in tension and/or a crisis,” he noted as principle number four, adding that “this I feel we have achieved to a good extent,” and that “maybe sometimes the two ministers need to talk more,” even if it concerns issues “of minor policy or importance.”

Fifth in order is the fact that “the long period of quietness which we have been experiencing for about ten months, is in itself a conquest. It’s something that was not a given.”

Finally, Gerapetritis emphasized that in his opinion, “peace and prosperity are not promoted by inaction, they are promoted by equanimity and bravery in the decisions one makes.”

Greece and Turkey focus on positive agenda

Relations between Greece and Turkey have improved since the beginning of the year after the deadly earthquake in Turkey.

Greece was among the first nations to offer assistance.

Since then the leaders of the two countries, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Tayyip Erdogan have met twice and reaffirmed their commitment to improving relations.

During their most recent meeting in September on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York the two leaders endorsed a roadmap that includes confidence-building measures in November, and the meeting of the Supreme Cooperation Council on December 7 in Thessaloniki.

After the meeting, Mitsotakis expressed optimism about the discussions, emphasizing the productive nature of their talks.

Erdogan expressed his positive expectations and hope, stating, “may our meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis be beneficial for our country and region.”


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