Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has blamed rising tension in the Aegean on the once all-powerful Turkish army, saying that its renewed influence is affecting developments within and outside the neighboring country.
“Turkey is experiencing a tough power struggle,” Kotzias said in an interview with Kathimerini’s Sunday edition, adding that the departure of prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, forced into resigning earlier this month, would have an impact on EU-Turkey ties.
“Also important however is the strengthening of the role of the armed forces, both at home, to deal with the Gulen movement and the Kurds, as well as abroad [in response to developments in] Iraq and Syria,” he said.
“Points of friction have arisen with nearly all of its neighbors… Turkey is today more tense than in the past,” Kotzias said, describing Athens’s stance as “sober and composed.”
“Greece must remain vigilant so it does not become part of the problem, something that certain circles in the neighboring country would hope for,” he said.
Despite a recent spate of airspace violations in the Aegean by Turkish fighter jets, Kotzias said that no serious incident had occurred during Erdogan’s rule. “However, if one is not careful, a serious incident could occur, even by error,” the minister said, adding that although Athens is keeping NATO and the European Union updated on Ankara’s provocations, Greece was “determined to defend its sovereign rights and territorial integrity.”
In the same interview, Kotzias advocated the need for an updated European security architecture that would incorporate Russia.
“Despite the many problems dogging relations between the West and Russia, we need to find ways to talk and communicate,” the minister said.
“It is no coincidence that even the US is discussing with Moscow a series of fundamental problems facing the world today.