Greek FM: Greece seeks a good relationship with Turkiye, hostile statements do not help

Statements of a hostile nature “do not contribute to a climate of peace and good neighborliness,” Greek Foreign Affairs Minister George Gerapetritis said on Thursday.

In statements to the press following the informal EU Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting (“Gymnich”) in Toledo, Gerapetritis said that Greece seeks “a peaceful and good relationship with Turkiye, which will be a relationship of mutual understanding of the positions of every country, always in respect of International Law.”

Ahead of a visit next week to Ankara, the Greek FM expressed the hope that Greece and Turkiye can maintain a positive communications channel through a series of positive actions. “We are attempting a restart with our neighbor Turkiye, so that we may discuss our differences, as we ought. To see the possibility of bringing the only difference we have – the delimitation of the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone – before an international jurisdiction,” he said.

In terms of elected Himare mayor Fredi Beleri still held in a Tirana jail, Gerapetritis said that “his detension is unfair, and obstructs his swearing in as mayor of Himare.” Greece has made the case known in all possible fora, he said. Besides the issue of the court decision and the independence of Albanian justice, he noted, the detention on as yet unread charges of alleged election fraud “is a clear violation of the presumption of innocence, of the rule of law, of civil rights, of himself and the residents of Himare who elected him.”

On the EU accession process of Western Balkan countries, the Greek FM said, “Greece has undertaken the initiative for the acceleration of the progress of Western Balkans to the European family. And 20 years after the historic Declaration of Thessaloniki, Greece will always be supportive of these countries in terms of their European prospects.”