Turkey will continue rhetoric of tension, says Alt. Defence Min Kouvelis

Turkey will continue the rhetoric of tension regardless of whether elections take place in the neighbouring country, Alternate Defence Minister Fotis Kouvelis suggested on Thursday, speaking to Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio “Praktoreio 104.9FM”.

“Of course, it will not cross the red lines,” claimed Kouvelis. He noted that Turkey, Erdogan and the majority of the Turkish political forces want to “keep the field open” with respect to the Aegean, relations with Greece and Greece’s national sovereigty, all of which are clearly laid out by international law and international treaties. He said that Turkey’s goal was to “redefine” its presence in the wider region around Cyprus’ EEZ in this way, and that this was “the big issue for Turkey,” while noting that it had several “open fronts” in other areas as well.

Referring to the case of the two Greek servicemen that continue to be detained in Edirne prison, the minister estimated that “continuous pressure might at some point make Erdogan decide to release them, because unfortunately Turkish justice is controlled and does not work independently as Greek justice does.” He pointed out that Greek courts had released two Turkish citizens held in Greece, based only on their own statement that they have somewhere to stay, namely the Turkish consulate, whereas the exact same request by the two Greek soldiers was not accepted by Turkish courts.