Government misread Turkey’s actions, ND’s George Koumoutsakos says

Main opposition New Democracy shadow foreign minister George Koumoutsakos on Thursday said “it is time for the EU to view its relationship with Turkey from a realistic perspective, which would be beneficial to both,” speaking during a party event in which he assessed his term as shadow minister.

He did, however, say that he does not expect any specific measures to be adopted by the European Council meetings in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Koumoutsakos underlined ND’s view that Turkey is now “trapped in a policy of perpetual tension in the Eastern Mediterranean since it wants to participate in the energy ‘game’ but does not accept the rules.”

Reflecting on his work as ND’s shadow foreign minister, Koumoutsakos said that he felt “satisfied” with his party’s overall stance on matters of foreign policy: “We have been strict, but never obstructionist with respect to fundamental strategic choices, which are, after all, of our own making.”

He highlighted that New Democracy believes in dialogue, and “we will pursue dialogue (with Turkey), but on the premise that dialogue rests on solid (diplomatic) foundations,” Koumoutsakos added.

Commenting on Greece’s foreign policy thus far, Koumoutsakos said that “interpreting Turkey’s actions as spasmodic ‘political nervousness’ is equivalent to providing an alibi, while waiting for it to pass.” This was certainly not ‘nervousness’, he added, but the pursuit of a “deliberate strategic aim” and added the current state of affairs with Turkey was largely due to this mistaken “reading” of Turkey’s diplomatic and political behavior.

On the EU’s enlargement into the Balkan region, Koumoutsakos said that ND is aligned with “Greece’s strategic outlook in support of European Balkan countries, as long as these countries adhere to the preconditions set by the EU.”

ND can play a significant role in what he believes is a new emerging political landscape, as the EU is “in need of some mending, but certainly not dismantling.’

Therefore, it is time, Koumoutsakos said, “for Greece to start playing an active role as a participant – coming forward with ideas and proposals – and not as a mere observer,” he concluded.