Athens not worried about Turkey deal

In the wake of the NATO Summit conclusion in Madrid on Wednesday, Athens is focusing on the fact that the trilateral agreement between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki for the Alliance’s enlargement does not affect Greek interests.

NATO, Washington and Ankara concurred on the need for the Aegean to remain a sea at peace amid the Ukraine war and for the Alliance to be as united as possible. However, given the general volatility, Athens is well aware that any optimism about Ankara’s general behavior can only be guarded.

Government sources said the agreement between Finland, Sweden and Turkey did not impact Greek interests. They said the agreement essentially constitutes a retreat by Turkey, which had intensified its rhetoric in recent months, but without extracting anything of particular substance and “does not in any way affect Greece’s interests, nor can it affect EU-Turkey relations.”

The text of the agreement between the three countries says Sweden and Finland will stop providing support to the Kurdish organizations in Syria (YPG/PYD), as well as to the Turkish-dubbed FETO movement of exiled imam Fethullah Gulen. “There is no link between these Kurdish organizations and terrorism, which is a long-standing demand of Turkey, but which is not being met,” the sources said, while also noting the agreement stressing the possibility of extraditing terrorism suspects from Sweden and Finland to Turkey is explicitly linked to respect for the European Convention on Extradition.

The same sources noted anyhow that Finland and Sweden played no role in Ankara’s arms programs and the value of their sales in 2015-19 to Turkey did not exceed €50 million and €5.1 million respectively.

Earlier Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted that Greece has stood by Ukraine from the very start and pointed out the Russian invasion has made it clear that NAT’’s mission to defend the territorial integrity of countries, human rights and international law is not a hollow declaration. He welcomed the fact that difficulties in the accession of Finland and Sweden had been “overcome.” He also met with British PM Boris Johnson as well as his counterparts from Sweden, Canada and Australia.

The same sources stressed that on the issue of food security, Mitsotakis underlined the readiness of both the Greek fleet and Greek ports to play a key role in the transport of Ukrainian grain to international markets.