Thessaloniki Summit 2021: Turkish ambassador on Greek and Turkish relations

The only way Greece and Turkey will manage the issue of migrant flows from Afghanistan is to keep talking with one another and coordinate the situation, Turkish Ambassador to Greece Burak Özügergin said in Thessaloniki on Thursday.

In a fireside chat at the two-day 6th Thessaloniki Summit held by the Federation of Industries of Greece (SBE) and the Delphi Economic Forum, Özügergin said that leaders of Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had spoken by phone recently about this and other issues.

Regarding relations between the two countries, he underlined that a climate of trust must be built between them, and that they must express complaints to one another, instead of speaking to third parties.

Commenting on the American investments in Alexandroupolis port, he said Turkey accepts American reassurances that this is not related to Turkey. “What we are interested in is Eastern Europe and the Black Sea,” Ozugergin explained. “Everything is related to the security of our allies in the Balkans and the Black Sea, which is very important for us because it serves as one of the key connecting points between Turkey and Russia. We therefore want to guarantee that the balances in the region – which includes Eastern Europe and the Black Sea – will be secured. Because we will be the first to face the repercussions if this balance is disturbed.”

Asked to comment on taking recourse to the International Court at The Hague over the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone, the Turkish ambassador claimed that “we cannot speak of continental shelves in the Aegean without knowing where the territorial waters end.”

Moderating the fireside chat was editor-in-chief of Kathimerini English edition Athanassios Ellis, while the Athens-Macedonian News Agency is media sponsor.