Launching an assessment triptych during a Saturday interview with OPEN TV station, State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis first said there is great current dynamics in the Greek economy, then he assured islanders and tourism workers that all necessary measures have been taken against the coronavirus, and with a nod to Ankara he noted that “Greece now is not the Greece of years foregone.”
Commenting on Greece’s financial target commitments to the Eurozone in 2021 in the face of a post-coronavirus recession, he said that “no decision has been made on the country’s commitments,” and furthermore the Eurogroup’s decision to approve the disbursement of the third tranche of Greek debt relief measures of 748 million euros, “practically exempts Greece for anything related to achieving fiscal targets in 2021,” he said characteristically.
On tourism, he reassured the residents of tourist destinations and workers in the tourism industry that “all the necessary measures are in effect already”, before summarily providing some essential figures: 450 beds have been installed in islands hospitals which will be configured exclusively for potential Covid-19 cases and which can go up to 700 if needed; there is also 20 ICU beds and these can go up to 70, while quarantine hotels have also been designated, and some 1,100 medical and nursing staff have been hired at islands. “There is a solid safety protocol in place against any health danger scenario at our islands.”
Asked if the ship that reached the shores of Libya was a ‘rehearsal’ on behalf of Turkey, he said that Turkey often tests the resilience of its neighbors, but “we are ready to deal with any such crisis.” He then noted that Greece has built active alliances at both regional and EU level and that the country has thus raised its “operational strength.”
He also said he is not convinced that Turkey has devised a strategic tensions escalation plan, but said he is certain it has drafted a plan to carry out specific maritime research, especially since the Turkish state petroleum company has been given permission to conduct it, which will be activated by September, “at which time we will potentially see any – if any escalation from Turkey,” he estimated.
“Turkey knows only too well that Greece is not a weak link in diplomacy, but a very strong player and that is why it will be difficult for Turkey to proceed with any hasty actions,” he asserted and concluded by saying that in any case “there is a specific protocol that will be activated to ensure our sovereignty.”