President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has described Greece as “a pillar of stability in the southeastern Mediterranean and the broader region,” while pledging the country’s commitment to dialogue with Turkey.
In an interview with state broadcaster ERT aired late Tuesday, Sakellaropoulou said that notwithstanding spells of tense ties between Greece and Turkey, including recent incidents in the Evros border region and the Aegean Sea, “we are neighbors and we will remain neighbors.”
“Neighbors need each other,” she added.
While emphasizing that Greece is well-equipped to defend its national sovereignty against external threats, Sakellaropoulou affirmed that the country “wants dialogue” with Turkey.
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar claimed that Turkey is “a million times right in the problems” it has with “Greece, which,” he said, “continues its provocative actions and provocative rhetoric.”
Citing the territorial disputes with Athens, he said in an interview with Turkish paper Milliyet that there is no other country in the world with territorial waters at 6 miles and airspace at 10 miles. He also added that 16 islands were militarized despite the Treaty of Lausanne.
Turkey wants dialogue, he said, while stressing that it will not allow the violation of its rights.
Annoyed with Greece’s armaments programs, Akar said it is placing itself under a great financial burden and “causing harm to the Greek people.”
If these programs are with Turkey in mind, he stressed, they are not enough, if they are for defense reasons, they are too many.