Former British PM: Europe must stand with Greece against Turkey

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In an interview with Kathimerini, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke about Turkish aggression and why Europe must stand with Greece against it.

Kathimerini asked Blair about "a Turkey that is escalating conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean" and about the debates on "how we handle an assertive Turkey."

"This is a big challenge for Europe. I recall the times early in the Erdogan leadership when there were early succession negotiations with Turkey. People were optimistic about it. But things have changed dramatically in the past decade or so. We have to recognise that," said the former British Prime Minister.

Blair then expressed his concerns about Turkey's actions against not only Greece, but also Libya.

"And right now, I am very worried about what Turkey is doing in Libya, in the near region and also about the relationship between Turkey and Greece," he said, adding that "Europe’s got to make it quite clear that it stands with Greece in this."

He then referred to Turkey's illegal deal with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya to steal Greek maritime space.

"The development of the gas fields, that is a matter between Greece, Egypt and Israel is extremely important and you can’t have unilateral abrogation of that at the declaration of the different maritime corridors. This is very important," Blair said.

"And I think that one of the risks of Covid is that people are so absorbed by it that they are not looking at other problems. We should not lose our focus on it. This is a big challenge and this is a challenge that Europe would have to respond in a united way," he concluded in his statements about Turkey.

Kathimerini also asked Blair whether he came close to agreement with the then Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis over the Parthenon Sculptures that are illegally being held in the British Museum in London.

"No, we didn’t, this is one of the issues… Hopefully we will resolve it one day, let’s put it like that," he responded.

"We had a very good relationship with Costas Simitis and I liked him enormously. I always got on well with the Greek Prime Ministers. But the Parthenon Sculptures was always in a box marked 'too hot to handle,' during my time at least," Blair said.