World must not allow [Turkish] revisionism to prevail: Greek FM

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The world must not permit a revisionist narrative to prevail and become dominant, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias underlined in statements at the "Manama Dialogue" Forum 2022 in Bahrain on Sunday, and the panel discussion “New Security Partnerships in the Middle East”.

Referring to the war in Ukraine, Dendias said that the success of Ukraine's struggle "will not just be the victory of a country against an aggressor but the defeat of the revisionist narrative." If the Russian invasion were successful, conversely, what would prevent the Turkish president Erdogan and other authoritarian leaders from following suit, he added.

"Turkiye acts as a trouble-maker in the region," Dendias said. "It does not accept international law and the international law of the sea. It is a member state of NATO but it does not impose sanctions on Russia."

The minister pointed out that examination of Turkiye's budget this year would reveal an additional 30 billion in profits from failing to impose sanctions on Russia, while 800 Russian businesses were relocating to Turkiye.

"Turkiye must be included in the security architecture of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is a large country and we cannot ignore its presence," Dendias said, noting that Greece was the only country that continues to clearly support Turkiye's accession to the EU, given the right conditions.

"The question is whether Turkiye's policy serves this aim," he added, pointing out that Greece was the only country in the world that was an EU and NATO member and faced a threat of war, or 'casus belli', if it exercises its sovereign rights.

At the same time, Dendias said, Turkey was agreeing maritime zones with the Tripoli government while ignoring that Greece's islands have rights. "It is as if Greece signed a memorandum with Tunisia and ignored the existence of Malta and Sicily," he said. Dendias accused Libya of acting as a trouble-maker in two ways: by signing illegal agreements with Turkey and creating potential problems with Greece, and by spreading weapons in the Sahel, where the situation was careering out of control."

The foreign minister also referred to the failures of western policy in Syria and identified Iran as another difficult case.

On a more optimistic note, he noted three positive developments in the region, starting with the Abraham Accords, which he described as "a game changer".

"I think that the Abraham Accords have completely changed the narrative not just of the Middle East, but of the overall region. Israel is able and willing to cooperate with countries in the region and create a new reality on the ground," he said.

The second thing Dendias identified was the [EEZ] Delimitation Agreement between Israel and Lebanon, where he noted that "in this Agreement we see something quite unique; an Agreement between two countries that do not recognise each other. And yet again, they find ways not only to resolve a long-standing issue, but also apply International Law and International Law of the Sea on the resolution of this issue. Which means accepting that the world is a rules-based society and at the same time creating a great example for the Mediterranean and for the world on the contested issue of the delimitation of sea zones."

As a final example, he cited the [EEZ] Delimitation Agreement between Greece and Egypt, on which the two countries had negotiated for around 35 years.

"This delimitation, which I had the honour to sign with my dear friend Sameh Shoukry, is not just a bilateral Agreement on delimitation of sea zones. It is a connecting lane between Africa and Europe which could be used for interconnectors, for pipelines. And at the same time it shows how application of International Law and International Law of the Sea creates the perfect example of how countries could resolve differences through dialogue, through application of International Law, through acceptance of a rules-based order and move forward and create stability, wealth and prosperity not just for their own citizens but for the citizens of a much larger area than that," he said.

Dendias noted that Greece views itself as an entry point towards the Balkans, Central Europe and towards supporting the Ukrainian effort.

"We have a port in North Eastern Greece, Alexandroupolis, which is the main port now used by NATO to support Ukraine.

"But also, we see ourselves as energy hubs, we can transfer energy from the Arab world and Africa to Europe. And there is a lot of infrastructure, pipelines, interconnectors that are being developed as we speak to address the challenge that Europe faces on energy, especially the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe.

"And on the other hand, on the cultural level, on the level of identity, I think we are well qualified, because of our geographic position and our history, to understand the Arab world better and become the interlocutors between the Arab world and the EU. We are at a cultural crosspoint and we can be extremely useful on that," he said.