DIPLOMACY

Balkan moves by Turkey under scrutiny

balkan-moves-by-turkey-under-scrutiny

Turkey’s attempt to expand its influence in the Balkans was, among other things, discussed in the first tripartite meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece, Serbia and Cyprus, held in Belgrade on Monday.

“We observe from the Greek side the Turkish aspirations in our wider region and the effort, using economic, religious and cultural means, to win over countries in the region and especially the Muslim population. It is an issue that is always on our minds,” said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias shortly after meeting with Serbia’s Nikola Selakovic and Cyprus’ Nikos Christodoulides.

Dendias stressed that “populations, people and societies are always bridges of cooperation for peace and security, for the promotion of human rights, for the promotion of human values,” adding, “They are certainly not to promote any kind of extremism, fanaticism or intolerance.” Referring to his scheduled visit to Ankara on April 14, Dendias reiterated that it will take place “under conditions” and “in the right climate.” The condition, he said, is that “Turkey will not take such provocative actions that will prevent my visit.” At the same time, two Turkish F-16s flew over the Greek islets of Panagia and Oinousses on Monday.

Dendias also announced a tripartite meeting between Greece, Serbia and North Macedonia in order to strengthen the dynamics of interconnection of the countries in the region.

In Belgrade, he was received by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, in whose presence the third Supreme Cooperation Council of the two countries was held.

Meanwhile, ahead of the visit on Tuesday to Libya by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece called for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from the North African country, while urging the new government to scrap an agreement on maritime boundaries with Turkey which Athens says violates international law.