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Greece making effort to de-escalate tension from 'dangerous' Turkish violations, defense minister says

TAGS: Defense, Turkey

Greece is making a concerted effort to react calmly to “dangerous incidents” in the Aegean, where Turkish violations “are reaching very high levels,” Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis told a meeting of visiting sub-committees of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in the Greek Parliament in Athens Monday.

“We always react to the provocations in the Aegean area, where the number of violations of national air space and national waters are unfortunately reaching very high levels, with prudence and strategic restraint,” Apostolakis said.

“Despite existing problems and dangerous incidents in the air and sea which can lead to a serious accidents, we are constantly trying to smooth things out and de-escalate the tension,” the former armed forces chief, who was appointed defense minister in January after former coalition partner Panos Kammenos stepped down, told the sub-committees.

Apostolakis added that a meeting between Greek and Turkish “technical teams” is being planned in the “immediate future” to discuss a series of actions within the context of confidence-building measures agreed by the two governments.

He said this meeting was discussed during Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when the former visited Turkey last month, as well as during contacts between Apostolakis and his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers, also in February.

“I hope that we will soon have tangible results from the decisions that were made, thus contributing to building a relationship of trust for international law,” Apostolakis told the sub-committees in Athens.

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