At a time when the thermometer in the Aegean has hit “red” after the decision of Turkey to launch the Oruc Reis for “investigations” and despite the fact that the research vessel seems to be moving away from the area that Ankara blocked with NAVTEX, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses a message to Greek citizens.
The message of the Prime Minister:
Greece is a proud and strong country. Member of the European family and pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. We remain steadfastly committed to the principles of International Law and the rules of good neighborliness. We seek bridges of peace, good faith and cooperation with all.
Our homeland is not threatened or blackmailed. And that is exactly why he does not succumb to threats and blackmail. Nor, however, does he tolerate provocative actions.
With this policy of principles, we have negotiated and signed the Maritime Zone delimitation agreements with Italy and, most recently, with Egypt. Agreements fully compatible with the Law of the Sea.
Agreements that prove that when there is a good mood and a climate of trust, long-standing disputes can finally be resolved. That ensure the progress and prosperity of the peoples, always within the framework of International Law.
In the same context of legitimacy, with confidence and without discounts, we are ready to talk to all our neighbors.
We are not afraid of dialogue, even the most difficult, because we have faith in the law of our positions. But dialogue with challenges and in a climate of tension is obviously pointless.
Turkey’s reaction to the perfectly legal EEZ delimitation agreement with Egypt shows, unfortunately, that it cannot reconcile with the European principles of the 21st century. And that it remains attached to the logic of coercion and intimidation. Logic that belongs to other eras.
With this attitude, however, it also proves the pretentious nature of its supposed readiness for dialogue. Why, how is it possible for a perfectly legal agreement of one state with another to be used by a third state as a pretext for withdrawing from exploratory contacts before they even restart?
At the same time, in fact, that Turkey itself signed with the Administration of Tripoli, in Libya, a non-existent and illegal memorandum. And which, with the repeated challenges, tests the endurance of Greece and Europe.
The militarization of the situation by Turkey is also an admission of the absence of legally strong positions. Because the projection of power is nothing but an attempt to compensate for its weakness in matters of law.
Responding to the development of its fleet, we also developed our own, putting our Armed Forces on alert. I am sure that all Greeks have the same absolute confidence in the capabilities of our Armed Forces that I have.
In the challenges we maintain the strength that comes from our composure and wisdom. But, at the same time, we remain in absolute political and operational readiness.
At the same time, we are activating our diplomacy. We inform friendly countries and the international public opinion. And we mobilize allies and partners.
We are not alone in this effort. The immediate response of the European Union to our request for the convening of the Foreign Affairs Council confirms that the issue does not concern only Greek-Turkish relations. But also the relations of the whole of Europe with Turkey.
Continuing, therefore, the policy of aggressive provocations, the only path that Turkey opens is that of strong sanctions against it. And this at the same time that powerful states, with significant global and regional power, are drafted with the law of our positions.
I emphasize again: We answer, we do not provoke. And we firmly hope that logic will finally prevail in our neighboring country. So that a bona fide dialogue can begin.
Based on International Law and mutual respect for the one dispute that is the subject of discussion and possible recourse to an international court: The delimitation of Maritime Zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
We do not raise flags of opportunity. We raise the attitude of responsibility and legitimacy. Why not make a serious foreign policy with propaganda photos from non-existent seismic surveys. Nor with nationalist frenzy towards controlled media.
Let everyone know: The risk of an accident lurks when so many troops are concentrated in a limited area. And the responsibility in such a case will be borne by the one who causes these conditions.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to international legitimacy and the power of diplomacy to resolve even the most complex issues.
We will never be the first to sharpen things. But self-control is only one aspect of our strength.
No challenge will go unanswered. We have, moreover, proved it in practice. And we will prove it again if necessary.