Dialogue under threat is blackmail, deputy FM tells European Parliament committee

Dialogue under threat is blackmail, deputy FM tells European Parliament committee

Any calls for dialogue under the threat of use of force is nothing short of blackmail, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels on Friday, calling on the European Union to send a “decisive” message to Ankara to cease all “unilateral, illegal and provocative” activities in the East Mediterranean.

Briefing European lawmakers on recent developments in the region – where tensions have escalated dangerously between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey over disputed energy and maritime rights – Varvitsiotis stressed that recent Turkish activities are not “just another chapter in the turbulent Greek-Turkish relationship, but a serious threat to the region’s security architecture.”

He reiterated that Greece is open to talks on maritime borders in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean and its willingness to take recourse to the International Court of Justice if such talks fail. However, he said, “we do not want to solve this problem with the use of arms.”

“This dialogue cannot take place under military pressure and threats. Dialogue under threat is blackmail,” Varvitsiotis said.

The upcoming European summit, added the Greek official, needs to “send a decisive and powerful message to Ankara” but added that any sanctions against Turkey must be aimed at the state and not have a negative impact on the people.

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