Turkish chief aims for peace

Turkey’s Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit played down the possibility of a military conflict between Turkey and Greece but stressed that continuous efforts should be made toward securing peace between the two nations, in an interview published in Sunday’s Kathimerini. Speaking on the sidelines of a military summit in Thessaloniki, the Turkish general said there were ways the military could contribute to easing tension between the two neighbors in order to help political leaders resolve broader problems. «No, we do not want a crisis. With admiral Hinofotis [Greece’s military chief] we are continuing efforts in this direction. You must understand that obstacles exist. We are making progress,» the general said. «We cannot make leaps (of progress) in one moment. But we are taking important steps,» he added. Buyukanit has visited Greece three times in as many years. The general said the frequency of his visits to Greece was indicative of efforts being made to consolidate peace. He also stressed the vital role played by media in relations between the two neighbors. «The media is very powerful in these matters. I sometimes say that the press has more strength than armaments or aircraft, as it can shape public opinion and this is very important,» he said. Senior Greek and Turkish military officials have been looking into ways of easing military tension in the Aegean, although no measures have yet been implemented. One of the measures being considered – since last year – is that military jets flying over the Aegean do so unarmed.

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