Petsas: Turkey has a long way to go” to prove that Erdogan means what he says

The tabling of Greece’s agreements with Italy and Egypt on maritime zones in the parliament’s Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs on Monday afternoon forces all parties to take a clear stance on them, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.

“We cannot imagine any responsible political force, especially the main opposition, rejecting these agreements. They are therefore called upon to reveal their stance: yes or no,” he said.

Later, Petsas respoinded to a question during his daily briefing on SYRIZA’s decision to vote ‘present’ during the final round of ratification, when the agreements go to plenary: “On important issues, there is no room for a ‘present’. A political power cannot avoid taking a stance on such an issue.” He said that Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras had called for an agreement with Egypt to go ahead even in partial delineation of zones, in June’s Delphi Forum.

The government spokesman said that official live briefings on coronavirus developments would be reinstituted but only twice weekly, every Tuesday and Friday at 18:00. They would include Civil Protection Deputy Minister responsible for crisis management Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis and head of the coronavirus advisory committee Sotiris Tsiodras. Professor and committee member Gikas Magiorkinis will replace Tsiodras when necessary, as during this week.

Among other issues, Petsas noted that a new legal content act (PNP) has extended the rights of employers to ask staff to work remotely to September 30, and the rights of employees in vulnerable groups to request working remotely, with fines levelled if the employer failed to follow through despite documentation.

The spokesman also noted that the fence at the Evros borders with Turkey will be extended to points suggested by the armed forces and the police. (Details were provided separately in parliament by Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis.) The project has been assumed jointly by four of Greece’s five largest construction companies and it will be ready in 5-8 months from today, he said.

On Turkish aggression, he said that “Turkey has a long way to go” to prove that President Recep Tayyip “Erdogan means what he says. If a de-escalation of the tension occurs, we are ready to go into talks at any time.” He said talks with the neighboring country would work in the framework of the 2016 exploratory talks that were interrupted by Turkey.