Tsipras says Greece does not welcome coupists, but respects judicial rulings


Greece does not welcome coupists but the case of eight soldiers who fled to the country after a failed 2016 coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is a matter of the judiciary, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday.

"Greece must respect the judiciary's decisions," Tsipras said after meeting Erdogan in Ankara.

"Coup plotters are not welcome in Greece, however what is more important is to strengthen our cooperation on the sector of security."

Tsipras also said that Greece and Turkey have agreed to de-escalate any tensions in the Aegean Sea and proceed with confidence building measures, while any differences with Turkey "can and must be solved with dialogue".

“Today, in our talks, it became once again clear that neither you nor me accept the logic of inertia and compliance with the beaten track. Because we recognize that the challenges we face in our times and in our region do not allow us to remain trapped in impasses,” he said.

If these steps materialize, the two countries can then make progress and repeat the exploratory talks on the issue of the continental shelf in the Aegean, he added.

Earlier in the press conference, Erdogan said he expected more cooperation from Greece in the repatriation of the eight soldiers. "As allies, we must be against terrorism. We will have to form a joint roadmap and act in a similar manner against the PKK and the FETO movement which we consider as terrorist."

"These fugitives…must not find a place in Greece."

On Cyprus, the Turkish leader said an important parameter is achieving "equality" for Turks on the island and called on Greece to improve the lives of the Muslim minority in western Thrace.

"We have made every effort to improve the situation if our citizens of Greek descent and expect Greece to adopt the same approach," he noted.

Asked about the Greek request to reopen the Orthodox seminary on the island of Halki, Erdogan said: “Every time this comes up, I tell them we should resolve the issue of the muftis in western Thrace. Let's also solve this issue.”

Commenting on the migration crisis, he said his country has kept all its promises deriving from the EU-Turkey statement to stem migration but the bloc has not keeping its side of the deal. As a result, Turkey has an "excessive burden," caring for four million refugees, he added.

[Reuters, Kathimerini]