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19 June, 1997
Greece is in favor of Turkey's course towards Europe and Ankara must realize that it is among those countries whose national interest is identified with that of Europe, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said.
"All the countries following this course must meet those criteria which are common for all member-states and which concern the economy, democracy, respect for human rights as well as for international treaties and the borders of other countries," Mr. Papandreou said, speaking at Munich's Press Club.
Stressing that Greece was not demanding anything from Turkey, Mr. Papandreou said "the only thing we are asking is for Ankara to respect our rights, the treaties which we have signed and the international treaties which stipulate that countries should settle their difference without resorting to force."
Unfortunately, he continued, in recent years there has been a resumption of Turkey's increased demands against Greece.
"Instead of resolving the problem of the (Aegean) continental shelf, we have had new demands from Turkey. Yesterday it was Imia. We told them that if they have a problem they should have recourse to the International Court at the Hague. They didn't accept this. Later, they said it wasn't just Imia, but other islands too, and then they started referring to so-called 'gray zones'. Subsequently they went even further and began talking about 'geographical zones'. After this, it was Gavdos and lastly, they threatened us with war if we extend our territorial waters to twelve miles, as we have every right to do," Mr. Papandreou said.
"We believe that Turkey is missing a great opportunity to have Greece as a companion and to approach the EU, rather than raising issues which challenge international treaties and creating instability in the region, which at the end of the day do not benefit Ankara," he said. Replying to questions, Mr. Papandreou underlined that Greece's armaments program required enormous sums of money "which of course makes it more difficult for Greece to rapidly attain the Maastricht targets." Asked about the precise amount involved, he said it was roughly the size of EU funds to Greece. On the EU summit in Amsterdam, Mr. Papandreou, who was to return to Greece last night, said important steps had been made towards European integration.
Source: Athens News Agency