President of the Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos addressed a message to neighbouring Turkey on Sunday, while attending celebrations in Tripolis marking the 197th anniversary since the taking of Tripolitsa, during Greece’s war of independence from Ottoman rule.
“This year also, during this nationally important anniversary, I will repeat this to our friend and neighbour Turkey: history is not there to divide us but to teach us and especially today it must teach us the value of peace and peaceful coexistence. We Greeks always extend a hand of friendship and good neighbourliness, as well as peaceful coexistence with Turkey, and favour its European prospects. An essential condition for this, however, is a complete and sincere respect for the totality of international and European law,” he said.
This, Pavlopoulos clarified, meant fully respecting the borders, territory and sovereignty of Greece, which were also the borders and territory of the European Union.
The message of the anniversary for Greeks, he added, was not complacency but the need to remain alert and to defend the freedom – and therefore the borders, territory and sovereignty of the country – at all costs. He also emphasised the need for unity: “..history has shown that, for us Greeks, only on terms of perfect unity can we defend the legacy of our ancestors and the future that we deserve, because division and disunity have always been a mortal danger for the prospects of our people and our nation.”