by Aggelos Skordas
During a visit to Ioannina on Wednesday where he attended a ceremony marking the 105th anniversary since the city’s liberation from the Ottoman rule the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, sent clear and strict messages to Turkey and FYROM. The Greek President, who inspected military units and even climbed upon a tank, urged the neighbouring countries to respect the International and European Law:
“We Greeks, a people and nation of peace and democracy, know how to defend when needed and against everyone, our borders, our territorial integrity and our national sovereignty that now comprise the frontier, territory and sovereignty of the European Union. Greece is a quiet force that respects its friends but was never afraid of its enemies, and its Armed Forces are in position to prove it at any time.”
Referring to Turkey, which he described as a “friend and ally”, Pavlopoulos underlined that its people’s way “is not heading to the East, it is heading to the West and the European Union” but under “inexorable terms and conditions”.
In particular, he categorically emphasised: “In order to have such a prospect, which we want and we want it sincerely, the full respect of International and European Law is a prerequisite. The Treaty of Lausanne and the Law of the Sea bind Turkey… There are neither impeachments nor gray zones. These are confections. While some are imagining gray zones, we are here to prove to them that the Aegean has light. Not gray. The Aegean has blue, not gray. And this, in addition to nature, in this region, has been enshrined by the International Law. In this we do not step back.”
In regard to the ongoing United Nations-led negotiations for a solution to the longstanding naming dispute with FYROM, the Greek President stressed that Greece supports the neighbouring country’s European and NATO perspective but would not tolerate irredentism: “The name they want to use and is in their Constitution is a name that brutally falsifies history and because it exudes irrationality, it is incompatible with the International Law, the NATO Charter and the European Acquis.” Furthermore, Pavlopoulos called on FYROM to respect history and revise their Constitution in order join the European Union and NATO.
Commenting on Turkey’s interference with the future name of FYROM, the Greek President noticed that, “our neighbours do not need lawyers, and if they have such, they do no good to them.”