Greece Voices Opposition to Prolonged Turkish Presence in Libya

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The Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, confirmed that his country seeks to thwart Turkey’s plan to establish a military base on the coast of Libya in an area close to the Greek island of Crete. The Greek official stressed that his country would prefer Libyan shores to be controlled by regular forces instead of groups of militias and mercenaries.

Dendias added: “We hope that Fayez al-Sarraj’s government will revoke the agreements and memoranda it signed with Turkey regarding maritime areas and other agreements of a military nature.”

He also stressed that the United States “refuted Turkey’s claim that it is a cornerstone of NATO’s presence in southern Europe and the Middle East.” In fact, Ankara has always claimed that it is the main pillar of NATO in the region, a role that Greece is also competing for.

Dendias pointed out that “the sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department on Turkish ministries and officials will affect the current balance over time, in light of the internal political and economic crisis that Ankara suffers from.”

Regarding the file of European-Turkish relations, the Greek foreign minister expressed his belief that Ankara “will continue to move away from Europe, in light of pursuing a policy that undermines the security of European Union countries and threatens stability in the Mediterranean basin.” He stressed that “Turkey cannot establish any relationship with Europe, or enter the European market, without being bound by the rule of law and human rights.”

Dendias also confirmed his country’s openness to any talks with Turkey. However, he stressed that such talks should take place “in an appropriate political climate to conduct dialogue between the two parties.”