Greece is in favour of sincere and ongoing dialogue with Turkey, with small but steady steps to improve relations between the two countries, Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos said on Thursday, during joint statements with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following their meeting in Antalya, Turkey. He emphasised, however, that “de-escalation of tension does not mean we are going to sweep the problems under the carpet.”
Katrougalos went on to say that Greece is open to the prospect of Turkey’s European accession, adding that a friendly, pro-European Turkey east of Europe’s borders is beneficial to all, provided Turkey respects the Europe acquis, democracy and human rights.
The Greek foreign minister stressed that it is important to boost the cooperation of both countries in the tourism and merchant marine industries as well as to promote the renovation of historic monuments, announcing that a special liturgy will be held on August 15 at the Greek Orhtodox Soumela Monastery at Mela Mountain, in the Macka district of Trabzon Province in Turkey.
Finally, questioned about the eight Turkish soldiers accused of involvement in an attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, who were granted asylum in Greece despite Turkey’s request for their extradition, Katrougalos said that coup instigators and terrorists have no place in Greece, while clarifying that only the judicial system can rule who is a terrorist or a coup plotter and stressing that Greece’s goverment has no right to interfere in judicial rulings.