NEWS

Greek, Turkish armies to have 24-hr hotline

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Greece and Turkey have agreed in principle to establish a 24/7 open line connecting their armed forces’ operations centers, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a telephone conversation on Friday.

The conversation was held ahead of the upcoming NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Dendias said in a Twitter post. It also took place before Friday’s meeting of the National Foreign Policy Council, with the participation of opposition parties.

All council participants agreed that Turkey has resorted to provocations lately, but opposition representatives former foreign minister and SYRIZA MP George Katrougalos and Movement for Change lawmaker Andreas Loverdos said the government’s response has not been strong enough.

“The lack of planning has led to the surrender of the initiative to the other side and to our being limited to defensive and reflexive moves,” said Katrougalos after the meeting.

“It looks like there will be no talk of sanctions at the next European Council. The EU-Turkish dialogue on issues that directly concern us, such as migration, continues without us. It is as if the government wants to gain time without telling us why,” he added.

Stoltenberg proposed a trilateral meeting with Dendias and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Brussels. Dendias declined, saying that a meeting with Cavusoglu has been scheduled for April 14, in Ankara, if Turkey does not resort to unnecessary provocations in the meantime.

Dendias wants to avoid talks under Stoltenberg’s aegis, which would elevate discussion above the “technical talks” level.

“Greece is not afraid of dialogue. And dialogue doesn’t mean giving up sovereignty. We are entering dialogue to promote the rightness of our positions,” he said.

In order for the Ankara meeting to take place, “officials on both sides should avoid unhelpful statements,” Dendias added.