Greece’s “calm and composed” manner has possibly averted unpleasant developments in Greek-Turkish relations, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has said.
Speaking to Kathimerini’s executive editor Alexis Papachelas on Skai TV’s “Istories” program, which will be aired on Tuesday night, Kotzias said Turkey has “come close” to stepping across Greece’s “red lines” since a spike in aggressive rhetoric emanating from Ankara in the wake of the failed coup of the summer of 2016.
Kotzias specifically mentioned an incident last February when a Turkish coast guard vessel rammed into a Greek coast guard patrol boat off the coast of the islets of Imia in the Aegean Sea – an area disputed by Ankara and which brought the two countries to the brink of war in 1996.
“If we didn’t have a calm and composed approach from the Greek side, no one can say where this could have led,” Kotzias said in regards to that particular incident.
Another case in point has been the continued detention in early March of two Greek soldiers who accidentally crossed the Turkish border, according to Kotzias.
“I am not in a position to say whether they fell into a trap or whether this was planned,” he said. “Turkey’s behavior, however, shows a change in attitude…. This is not the Turkey with which we used to exchange soldiers who crossed over and were arrested… They are being used in a different way now.”