Nikos Kotzias: the opposition was quick to judge Erdogan’s visit before it even happened

The Foreign Minister, Mr. Nikos Kotzias, characterized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit in Athens as “successful” based “on actual facts”.

In response to a question by a journalist during the joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart, Mr. Edward Nalbadian, regarding the visit, he stated that it was judged by the opposition with a timing difference as “it was a visit that according to the opposition failed before it even happened, while in our estimation it was a success. They judged the visit, whereas we judged the actual facts”.

He further added that it was “a visit that stuck to the schedule, as opposed to what happened in 2004, when Mr. Erdogan gave four speeches, which were not authorized, in Thrace, and delayed the program for over 4 hours, because he spontaneously visited various areas and villages, where the majority is Muslim”.

The visit, according to the Greek FM, was “a success, because we talked frankly and openly, both our country’s President and the PM, and President Erdogan seemed to understand better the Greek positions and take them largely under consideration”.

“The visit was also a success because we were able to unfreeze the channels of communication, something of paramount importance after the attempted coup in Turkey”, Mr. Kotzias stated, explaining that currently he is preparing for a series of meetings, starting with Mr. Mouzalas’ in Turkey and the one next February between the two governments.

“We must not regard our relations with our neighbors based solely on emotion”, the Greek FM explained and underlined the importance of mobilizing our neighbor towards a positive agenda and the direction we want so as to recreate better circumstances in order to resolve existing problems. “When problems exist, they exist so that they can be discussed and be resolved. They don’t exist for us to look at get sad and condemn them. This is something journalists can do, but not politicians”, he concluded.

The FM, when asked about the statements made by Turkish PM before the Parliament for the so-called occupation of 16 Turkish islands in the Aegean by Greece, he underlined that a clarification is needed on the controversial Yildirim statements, as it is wise to be prudent as to how certain issues are being posed. On that note, he pointed out that the Turkish PM did not pose the issue as it is being presented, but instead responded to the Kemalist opposition, which criticizes the Turkish government that Greece supposedly occupies 16 islands, to which he answered that this is of course baseless.

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