Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Greece has thanked Turkey for its role in the repatriation of three Greek sailors who were stranded in Djibouti since 2019 and returned to the country on Sunday.
Speaking during an interview with private broadcaster Star on Monday evening, the minister was asked about a comment by Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday who implied that Dendias had forgotten to mention Ankara’s assistance when he thanked those involved in the repatriation.
“We did what we had to do. We thanked Turkey for its assistance it provided to the Greek government for the return of the Greek sailors. How Turkey receives our thanks, concerns Turkey,” he said, adding that he attributes the reaction to Ankara’s attempt to maintain a climate of tension in its relationship with Greece.
According to a report by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the three sailors had been trapped on two Greek-owned ships anchored off the coast of Djibouti since Sept. 4, 2019, over the unpaid debts of the ships’ owner for port fees and fuel. The sailors were evacuated Saturday on a Turkish Airlines flight.
Anadolu said the evacuation was carried out following an official request from the Greek authorities.
“The adventure of the other three Greek sailors who remained in Djibouti has come to a happy end. Thanks to the excellent cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Ministry of Shipping, they arrived in Greece a few hours ago,” Dendias wrote on his official Twitter account on Sunday.
He went on to thank Djibouti’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, the country’s government and the European authorities in Djibouti.