Greek FM Nikos Kotzias: “Turkey crossed the red line at Imia!”

16 February 2018
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Nikos Kotzias is one of the main figures in the news as the Greek Foreign Minister, especially after Turkey’s latest provocations in the Aegean Sea at Imia, as well as because of the negotiations on the name of FYROM.

In an interview for the ALPHA TV Channel, he clarified a few things issues.

Regarding the Greek response to the Turkish attempt to sink a Greek Coast Guard vessel by ramming it with one of its own ship, he stated that “we noted in our announcement that they violate international law and do not know geography … Because the Imia are of course Greek. International law and international Treaties clarify this”.

According to Kotzias, it makes them nervous that we are in a dialogue and we solve our problems. And it may be that they are very nervous about resolving our problems with Albania and I hope that we will solve our problems with FYROM because they are trying to build a “claw” Greece, so that we will have problems not only in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, but we also have problems at our northern borders.

And also added:

They will not do it again. It should not happen again. This is what the Turks have to understand because they always talk about “warnings” etc… And I have told them that Greece is neither Syria nor Iraq.

All the islands, the islets and the rocky islands we own as Greece, have been given to us in accordance with the international law. Turkey has been questioning this at times.

That’s what I told them. “Do not open any ‘gray zones issues’, because if we open such cases on the basis of international law, not only will you be found to be wrong, but you will have loses”.

Our red line is where one hurts our sovereignty and our independence. And we saw this in some of the rocky islands they wanted, but we did not let them approach…

Regarding the negotiations with Albania:

For Albanians, our negotiations are going on for 2-2 ½ years now. So they matured and it was reasonable at some point to get to a good end. And I hope we’ll get there.

About the name dispute with FYROM and the ongoing negotiations:

We are not negotiating to solve the problem of the FYROM, with its consequences, because we are being pressed to have them in the EU and NATO. We use the fact that they are in a hurry and want to get into these structures in order to make more productive and more direct negotiation.

I prefer a name that makes clear internationally that this the part of Macedonia that is within today’s FYROM, with Albanians and Slavs, has nothing to do with Greek Macedonia.

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