Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ interview with ALPHA TV’s “Kalytera den ginete” show and journalist N. Germanou-highlights (14.05.2023)

JOURNALIST:  Elections are being held in Türkiye today and here’s with us the right man on the right day […].  Minister, welcome.

N. DENDIAS: Thank you.

JOURNALIST: It is indeed a very special day today. We’ve been talking about the Turkish elections for some time now and I’ve noticed that you, like us, have been watching Evangelia Tsikrika with great interest, as you’re also interested in this issue.

N. DENDIAS: It’s an issue that our country is interested in.

JOURNALIST: It is indeed. And while we have a lot to say, I’d like to start with this, following the report of our correspondent. So, there’s Tayyip Erdogan whom you’ve known for so many years, and there’s a second candidate who is heading – a little bit more – towards a more Westernized way of life. What outcome would be in our best interests, Minister? Ι mean, as Greece, what’s in our best interests, to put it in layman’s terms?

N. DENDIAS: But as you realize, I’ve answered this question numerous times.
JOURNALIST: 100 times.

N. DENDIAS: Actually, to be honest, I haven’t answered this question that many times since I’m simply not allowed to answer this question.

We would like to see a Western-friendly, democratic, economically strong, i.e., without economic crises, Türkiye. Now, I believe, it is up to the Turkish society and the Turkish people to decide which of the two presidential candidates will serve this purpose.

If I may make a general statement, however, I’d look behind the slogans. I wouldn’t stick to each candidate’s slogans. I would look deeper at what each candidate stands for, where he comes from, and what his party, the Republican Party, and the Kemalists have done historically after Kemal’s death. What have they done since Inonu?

Who was in power in Türkiye at the time of the invasion of Cyprus? Things are a bit more complicated than they appear if you just look at the slogans of the parties.


JOURNALIST: […] Let me return to Greek-Turkish relations and ask you if this calm period, kind of “honeymoon” -actually it’s not a month, it’s a three-month, four-month period that we’re going through-, is a period of appearances or of essence? In other words, we have demonstrated a human face to the tragedy experienced by our neighbors following the devastating and tragic earthquake. So, has that essentially normalized our relations?

N. DENDIAS: No, but it has opened up a window of opportunity.  It has created a period of no tension, no violations, no overflights, no aggressive rhetoric, and no incidents at sea.

What does that give us?  It provides us with an opportunity: following the elections in both countries, the two new governments – which may be the same but with restored public confidence – will have the political capital to sit down and discuss our dispute.

Do we believe that this will miraculously solve a problem that has been unsolved for decades?  If you asked me for a percentage, I’d give 10/90 or 20/80.  The odds are not great.

But we have to try. And once again, this climate gives us the ability to try it without the constant tension we’ve experienced so far.

Anyway, one of the “conditions” imposed by the Greek side for sitting at a table and talking is that there be no violations, no overflights, and no aggressive rhetoric.

It’s done and that’s very important; let’s try and see if we can open a “big door” out of the “small window”.

JOURNALIST: Who is Greece’s most valuable ally at the moment?

N. DENDIAS: Do you mean in the global community? First of all, I’d start with the United States. But I would not limit myself there. I would put France next to them, as well as a number of Arab countries; I’d also add all these countries that believe that International Law and good rules of conduct, as well as the UN Charter, are the best way for nations and states to continue to exist and prosper.

I would add all these countries, which we have tried very hard to make aware of our positions, our problems, and our needs over the last four years, as they are countries that can join us in what I would call a common-sense effort.

I believe that if everyone considers what is simply reasonable, then they will act in a way that serves Greek positions.