Greek Foreign Ministry pointed to the danger of the spread of nationalism in Turkey
Athens fears the possible consequences of a nationalist upsurge in Turkish society, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in an interview with the Kathimerini newspaper.
The minister was asked to comment on a recent display by the leader of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ) Devlet Bahceli maps, on which the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, as well as Crete, are depicted as Turkish.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, of course, Prime Minister [Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis] have already spoken out about the Bahceli map. Under other circumstances, we would call such an event figurative or amusing. But in the context of the prevailing atmosphere, it becomes unsettling and dangerous, especially coming from a partner in the [Turkish] government coalition. He is acting as part of an escalation of nationalist rhetoric in a neighboring country against our country. A rhetoric that is not limited to part of government circles, but seems to be picked up by part of the opposition as well. We estimate that this rhetoric is intertwined with the looming polarization within Turkey in the run-up to the 2023 elections,— said Dendias.
At the same time, according to the minister, “those who believe that the problem is in Greek-Turkish relations” are mistaken. this is the president of a neighboring country and if he leaves the stage, the challenges will disappear, as if by magic. He noted that the rise of nationalism risks spreading to a large part of Turkish society, which was once friendly to the Greeks.
“Despite the climate change we are seeing, I believe that much of Turkish society is still looking forward to a European future [for their country]. However, under the current conditions, there is no opportunity for a significant improvement in bilateral relations,»— concluded Dendias.
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In recent months, relations between Greece and Turkey have deteriorated sharply, including due to the conflict over the status of the islands in the eastern Aegean. According to the Lausanne and Paris treaties, they passed to Greece on the condition that they be demilitarized.
In late May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Greece of violating the status of the islands in the Aegean Sea and proposed to demilitarize them. Otherwise, the issue of ownership of the islands will appear on the agenda, he noted.
On June 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that attempts to use the islands with non-military status in various exercises and involve third countries, including NATO members, will end in disaster. He tweeted that Greece is putting pressure on the Turkish minority who live in Western Thrace, Rhodes and Kos.
In response, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the world would not agree to any revision of the borders, but “History is not rewritten because someone arbitrarily constructs it in their mind.”
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