Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis’ interview with SKAI TV station and journalist Dimitris Economou-main points (Athens, 29.07.2022)

“We want dialogue with Turkey, but we want to make it clear that our national sovereignty is non-negotiable. And of course, the dialogue must be conducted in accordance with the rules, namely the respect for International Law and the Law of the Sea. We will not conduct the dialogue that Turkey desires, putting on the table issues that a sovereign state cannot accept under any circumstances”, stated Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, speaking today on SKAI TV station and journalist Dimitris Economou.

Mr. Varvitsiotis added that Greece is better prepared than ever, having increased the level of readiness of its Armed Forces, prompting Turkey’s reaction. The Alternate Minister underscored that Greece will not abandon its armaments or its international alliances, nor will demilitarize its islands, simply because Turkey wants it. He noted that Erdogan is particularly annoyed by the upgrading of Alexandroupoli’s port and the increased American presence there.

Speaking of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s current visit to Athens, Mr. Varvitsiotis said that “first of all we expect the good level of Greek-German relations to be shown to the outside world”, recalling that in this context he himself had visited Berlin a few days ago. He noted a shift in the German attitude towards Turkey following the meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with the result that Germany now identifies with the Greek position that disputes must be resolved on the basis of International Law, that there is absolute respect for Greek sovereignty and that no one discusses any concession or retreat by Greece towards its sovereign rights simply because Turkey demands it.

The Alternate Minister also emphasized that the Prime Minister’s proposals as reflected in his letter to Ursula von der Leyen on how solidarity in the energy crisis will work in the EU have been embraced by many EU members, including Germany, noting that it is another success of Greek foreign policy that “we managed to put the issue of the European response to the energy crisis high on the European agenda”.