Athens will have a constructive disposition when exploratory contacts with Ankara resume, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said during an interview with Kathimerini.
He also stressed that the agenda of the exploratory contacts is specific and cannot be changed.
What worries Dendias is that “the Turkey of 2021 is not the Turkey of 2016, when the last round of exploratory contacts took place.”
“Today’s Turkey deviates from the Turkey of the early 2000s, when it looked forward to European integration,” he added.
Regarding the bill to parliament to extend the western limit of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles, Dendias emphasised that “it is the first extension of the borders of the Greek State since 1947, always by peaceful means and on the basis of International Law”.
“We are preparing for expansion in other parts of the country,” he continued.
When asked about Athens-Washington relations, the Foreign Minister said that they are discussing a multi-year agreement on mutual defense cooperation.
“Our ambition is to continue and further strengthen our relations with the United States,” as it strengthens the country’s geopolitics in the wider region.
Dendias also stated that last year Greece closed “pending issues that had been open for decades.”
“We signed three very important agreements. Two concerning the maritime zones with Italy and Egypt. A third which concerns pioneering cooperation in foreign policy and defense with the United Arab Emirates,” he said, adding that Greece is seeking to deepen cooperation with France and other countries.
“The Mitsotakis government faced various challenges and hybrid threats last year with sufficient confidence,” he highlighted.
Dendias stressed Greece’s commitment to making more diplomatic openings and strengthening its traditional relations.
“This week I will visit Italy and Portugal. Following is a visit to Belgium. And a little later the Baltic countries,” he noted, adding that a new framework for cooperation with the UK also being developed, while channels are being opened in Asia and Africa.
As for the Cyprus issue, Dendias stressed that he could not be optimistic, as “the rhetoric coming from Turkish officials, but also from the Turkish-Cypriot leader Tatar, is not encouraging.”
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Greece and Turkey will soon start discussions.
“There is a window of opportunity to have a much better dialogue with Greece. The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Nikos Dendias) is personally a very good friend of mine,” Çavuşoğlu said.