Minister hails improved Turkey ties

Minister hails improved Turkey ties

Reflecting the changing mood in Greek-Turkish relations, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has hailed what he referred to as an extremely positive climate.

Speaking to local media in the northern Greek town of Kavala on Saturday, Panagiotopoulos said the thaw is an opportunity for the consolidation of good-neighborly relations, the formation of conditions of peace, security and stability in the region, but always with respect for international law and without any hint of a derogation of the country’s sovereign rights.

He also made reference to a visit to Turkey last week, where he and his counterpart Hulusi Akar visited the earthquake-affected areas of Hatay. The trip was part of an effort to defuse tensions over long-standing disputes in the East Mediterranean, such as maritime boundaries and drilling rights.

Following the February earthquakes in Turkey, Greece was among the first countries to offer assistance, and the outpouring of support resulted in a de-escalation of tensions. Turkey, for its part, expressed condolences in the aftermath of a deadly train crash in northern Greece.

“I hope Turkey and Greece, two civilized countries, can solve these problems within the framework of good-neighborly relations… through peaceful means and methods, and amid mutual respect and dialogue,” Akar told reporters last week in joint statements with Panagiotopoulos.

In his comments on Saturday, Panagiotopoulos also referred to the strengthening of Greece’s armed forces through the maintenance of existing systems and the acquisition of modern ones that are upgrading Greece’s deterrent capability. He also lauded the achievements to date since July 2019 in terms of the country’s defenses. These included the management of surprise and asymmetric crises that the Mitsotakis government was called upon to deal with and the formulation of a realistic model for the exercise of defense diplomacy.

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