Mitsotakis and Erdogan

Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias alluded to a possible meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly in New York, during a radio interview on Monday.

Speaking on Real FM radio Dendias said that the meeting “has not yet been finalised,” and clarified that this meeting should not be seen as a “pardon meeting” of Turkey’s attitude.

During the interview, Dendias said that the Government had sent a clear message to Turkey “to stop the provocations, to stop acting in disarray, to stop violating sovereign rights and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus” so that “we can start a meaningful dialogue”.

On the influx of migration to Greece, Dendias highlighted the government’s intention and actions towards “knowing what is happening in real time.”

Dendias also referred to an older project he had prepared as Defence Minister in 2014 and which concerns the interconnectivity of surveillance cameras in the northern Aegean region, based on a study carried out by the National Technical University of Athens, a task which “has been left behind all these years,” the Minister said, and stressed how “the Aegean is a sea that could be completely visible to the Greek authorities 24 hours per day” so that “we are able to warn Turkey and stop it.”

In this context, he criticised the former SYRIZA government’s perception, as he said, that the Aegean Sea cannot be policed effectively and called this “a wrong perception.”

He then said that “we are not talking about the sea, we are talking about the coasts of Asia Minor, directly across from Greek islands,” and because refugees are there in great numbers, Dendias said, the “human traffickers are trying to have them cross over.”

This is why, Dendias said, Greece has to be able to monitor the region “based on a set of cameras and other tools, so that we know, in real time, what is going on and not have hundreds of people suddenly arriving on the island of Lesvos on any given afternoon.”

He also referred to the non-state funding of a purchase of new high-speed boats, as requested by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Again referring to the actions of the previous SYRIZA government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said it was characterised by an attitude of “resignation, not only from (the reality) of migration inflows but also from the management of these people within the Greek territory, to the extent that it put our country in an embarrassing position,” Dendias concluded.


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