Greece’s “multifaceted diplomacy has paid off” and tension with Turkey “has eased,” but constructive dialogue is impossible “unless the parties involved give up all aggressive actions,” Greece’s minister of state, George Gerapetritis, said on Wednesday.
“Discussing our maritime zones while violations of our national airspace and territorial waters are taking place is just not feasible,” Gerapetritis told state broadcaster ERT, in the wake of an announcement on Tuesday by Turkey that it will suspend research for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean in an area located within the Greek continental shelf, pending talks with Greece.
Athens, he also said, is in “favor of dialogue on the basis of the rules of international law” with Turkey on the unresolved issues between the two countries, but only with regard to the question of maritime zones.
However, Gerapetritis said, this does not necessarily mean that dialogue between Athens and Ankara is not possible.
“There is room for an understanding,” he said.
“Communication is always preferable to being faced with fait accomplish that may create unnecessary tension, or a mistake that causes an incident that we are then unable to control. Therefore, lines of communication, both diplomatic and operational, are necessary,” Gerapetritis said.
The minister added that notwithstanding its desire for dialogue, Greece will not accept ultimatums.
“Our neighbor has to come to terms with the fact that we are not powerless; that we have the ability to mobilize international organizations that we did not have previously,” he said.