Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Kotzias sends stern warning to Ankara
Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has said that Ankara came “very close” to crossing Greece’s red lines in the Aegean when one of its coast guard boats fired live ammunition during an excercise in Greek territorial waters near the islet of Farmakonisi in the eastern Aegean on Friday.
In an interview with Alexis Papachelas on Skai TV late Tuesday, he said the “game” played out at Farmakonisi was a “serious violation of international law,” and, striking a more belligerent tone, warned that Turkey “should know that we will not always be tolerant, that our response will not only be the one that we gave then, that it will be much harsher.”
He described Turkey as a “nervous power” reminiscent of the post-Bismarck era in 19th century Germany which “did not maintain a balance with its environment. ”
For that reason, he said, “our care for the security of our country and its sovereignty is greater than in the past,” adding, “Some people in Turkey think that Greece could be like Syria or Iraq.” But, he added, “Turkey is making a mistake” in believing that Greece is weak with regard to its defense because of its economic crisis. He stressed that Greece has international law and climate on its side and they “are not the only instruments we have.”
Tensions between both countries spiked after the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to extradite eight Turkish servicemen to Turkey to stand trial for their alleged role in the failed coup attempt there last July. But Kotzias insisted that Turkey was jittery long before the extradition case.