Defence Min Apostolakis: Turkey always puts forward claims but Greece is not its top concern

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Defence Min Apostolakis: Turkey always puts forward claims but Greece is not its top concern
EUROKINISSI

Defence Minister Evangelos Apostolakis, in an interview with Open Beyond TV late Thursday, referred to Turkey's attitude and noted that Turkey is constantly putting forward claims.

Turkey, said Apostolakis, has problems with its neighbours, with the EU and with the US, and Greece is not its top concern. However, he explained that its demands remain for reasons of internal policy and due to the presence of an extreme-right party in government.

He underlined the need to remain very cautious and avoid adding fuel to the fire, while noting that the Turkish demands have no legal foundation.

Commenting on his statement that if Turkish military officers set foot on a Greek islet "we will level it," Apostolakis pointed out that the Greek Armed Forces operate as a deterrent.

He also referred to his very good relations with his Turkish counterpart, adding that his views are sincere and we are seeking ways to smooth out tension in the Aegean.

Asked if he is afraid of a 'heated incident' in the Aegean, even by accident, Apostolakis responded negatively. "If we do not make a mistake, this will not happen," he added.

The Greek defence minister forecast that US-Turkish relations will not break down entirely but will not be at the same level as before. The chances that a solution will be found are greater than a rift between the two sides, he added, since the US side considers Turkey an important ally.

Moreover, he underlined that Greece is a reliable country that tries to maintain stability in the region and has excellent relations with all states and plays the role of mediator in foreign policy issues. "It is the alternative solution," said Apostolakis, noting that the good level of bilateral Greek-US relations is linked to the increased presence and facilitations Greece provides at the existing bases.

Apostolakis reiterated his concern at the prospect of Turkey acquiring the S-400 air defence system as it will totally change the state of affairs regarding the control of air space. He also pointed to the need for Greece to buy new-generation fighter jets like the F-35s or equivalent aircraft and to upgrade the country's air defence in order to maintain the balance of power.

On the Prespes Agreement, Apostolakis said it resolves many problems, opens up prospects and again expressed Greece's willingness to support North Macedonia in its access to NATO. He suggested that the language and the ethnicity issues that have been criticised in the agreement are minor in comparison with the issues the are being resolved.

Source: ana-mpa

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