Petsas: Turkey acts as a destabilising factor in the region

“Greece is methodically and consistently establishing the conviction throughout the world that it is a factor of peace and stability throughout SE Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean,” government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Thursday during a press briefing.

He added: “Apart from its traditional participation in all international fora that promote the peaceful coexistence of peoples, in recent months it has delimited maritime zones with Italy and Egypt with absolute respect for good neighbourly relations and the law of the sea. Turkey, by contrast, acts as a troublemaker and a factor for instability in our wider region, either through the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum, or its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, or its successive illegal NAVTEX notices or the provocative rhetoric of its leadership.”

Petsas stressed that “our European partners have already drawn up a list of sanctions and are calling on Ankara to proceed to a de-escalation, otherwise they will activate it. The United States has condemned Turkey’s behavior in repeated statements by the State Department. It is therefore up to Ankara to choose either de-escalation or sanctions.”

He added: “In any case, Greece responds with political, diplomatic and operational vigilance, composure and national confidence. Our position has been and is clear: based solely on international law, the law of the sea and the principles of good neighbourliness, we seek agreements to delimit our country’s maritime zones with all neighboring countries, including Turkey. But dialogue is not possible in the face of threats, blackmail attempts and provocations.”

“Greece cannot be dragged, terrorised or blackmailed. We therefore expect the neighbouring country to give up the provocativeness that leads nowhere and come to the table for exploratory contacts. With sincere diplomacy, not opportunist propaganda. With a realistic framework, not claims that are arbitrary and illegal under international law. And finally with a single document: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, so that we can pursue a mutually acceptable agreement on the only bilateral issue, which concerns the delimitation of our maritime zones. And if we do not agree, let us proceed to the drafting of a joint statement for a joint referral of the issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague,” Petsas said.