FM sets the record straight on Turkey

Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Monday doused media speculation about Athens and Ankara jointly prospecting for oil in the Aegean and said that Greece?s priority remained the solution to bilateral disputes regarding the delineation of the continental shelf and the Cyprus problem.

?We state outright that there is no discussion under way about the joint exploitation [of oil reserves],? Droutsas told Skai Television. ?Some people want to create the impression that Greece has become Qatar overnight but we should not be deluding the Greek people at a time like this,? Droutsas said. Questioned about reports that last week?s visit to Turkey by Prime Minister George Papandreou was nearly canceled due to violations of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets two days before, Droutsas said he was reassured by his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu when he contacted him to complain. ?I was told what I deemed was necessary for the prime minister to visit Turkey,? he said.

Droutsas stressed that Greece?s priority remained the full normalization of bilateral ties through the resolution of two thorny issues: the delineation of the continental shelf and the reunification of Cyprus. According to European Union law, Turkey must officially recognize Cyprus by receiving Cypriot aircraft and vessels. Droutsas suggested yesterday that it was no longer clear where the goalposts lay for Turkey?s accession prospects. ?The European Union is giving out mixed messages regarding the prospects of Turkey joining the EU and this is being exploited by some,? he said.

In a related development, Turkey?s Minister for European Union Affairs Egemen Bagis said the derailing of Turkey?s EU-bound course ?would be a nightmare for Greek Cypriots.?