Greece’s Foreign Minster George Katrougalos, had a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following their meeting in Brussels on Thursday, declaring their willingness to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.
During the press conference Koutrougalos said that Greece is in favour of sincere and ongoing dialogue with Turkey, with small but steady steps to improve relations but emphasised, however, that “de-escalation of tension does not mean we are going to sweep the problems under the carpet.”
The Greek Foreign Minister went on to say that Greece is open to the prospect of Turkey’s European accession, adding that a friendly, pro-European Turkey east of Europe’s borders is beneficial to all, provided Turkey respects the Europe acquis, democracy and human rights.
Koutrougalos also stressed that it is important to boost the cooperation of both countries in the tourism and merchant marine industries as well as to promote the renovation of historic monuments, announcing that a special liturgy will be held on August 15 at the Greek Orthodox Soumela Monastery at Mela Mountain, in the Macka district of Trabzon Province in Turkey.
Finally, questioned about the eight Turkish soldiers accused of involvement in an attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, who were granted asylum in Greece despite Turkey’s request for their extradition, Katrougalos said that coup instigators and terrorists have no place in Greece, while clarifying that only the judicial system can rule who is a terrorist or a coup plotter and stressing that Greece’s government has no right to interfere in judicial rulings.