Erdogan: Turkey does not see Greece as an enemy or adversary

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country has never viewed its neighbor Greece as an enemy or adversary, and that there are no unsolvable problems with its neighbors.

This came in an interview with the Greek newspaper Kathimerini regarding relations between Ankara and Athens, ahead of an official visit he intends to make to Greece tomorrow, Thursday, December 7.

Erdogan referred to many outstanding issues between Turkey and Greece, stressing that the two countries are aware of this, but whether or not to allow these problems to raise tension between the two governments and the two peoples is also in the hands of the two countries.

He explained that in this context he recently spoke about “opening a new page” and the “win-win” principle in relations between Turkey and Greece.

He stressed that the “win-win” principle lies at the core of Turkey’s approach to international relations and diplomacy.

Erdogan stressed that addressing differences through dialogue and meeting on common ground will benefit everyone.

He pointed out that Turkey and Greece have recently gained good momentum regarding shaping their relations within the framework of this approach.

He added: “The channels of dialogue between us are open and operating at all levels, and our mutual visits are also intense. We have the desire to develop our cooperation in many important areas for our two countries and our region on the basis of mutual trust.”

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He continued: “Now, it is the responsibility of both parties to strengthen this approach, institutionalize it, and advance it further.”

He expressed his belief that “Mr. (Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos) Mitsotakis also has the same will.”

Erdogan stated that this common intention will be clearly recorded thanks to the declaration on friendly relations and good neighborliness scheduled to be signed in Athens tomorrow, Thursday.

He stressed that Turkey has never viewed its neighbor Greece as an enemy or adversary. “We, like all countries, need friends, not enemies.”

Erdogan added: “I say it frequently; we believe that we do not have any insurmountable problems with our neighbors, especially Greece.”

He said: “I think what has changed recently is that the Greek side reconsidered its point of view towards us and began to understand that we are a people who never reject the hand of friendship extended to them.”

He stressed that Turkey never hesitates to respond to attempts to target the security of its people, the integrity of its territory, and its national interests, and at the same time it is open to enhancing cooperation and friendship.

He pointed out that Mitsotakis understood this matter and was able to see Turkey’s sincere desire to overcome existing problems and improve relations with Greece.

Erdogan explained that he was happy to observe a similar approach in Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis.

Erdogan added that there are many problems between the two countries in addition to the issue of the continental shelf, and that they must be viewed together in one package.

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He stressed that addressing issues selectively, talking about some and leaving others is not a correct approach because they are all interconnected.

He continued: “We must not leave any problems behind when we resort to international justice, but above all we must speak about all our problems with courage and direct public opinion correctly.”

He said that if Greece offered a similar approach to Turkey, away from foreign interference, a good start could be made towards building a peaceful future for both countries.

Regarding cooperation in the field of energy, Erdogan stressed that there are opportunities and potentials for cooperation between the two countries in the Mediterranean, and that benefiting from them can contribute to the energy security of the countries of the region and the resolution of political issues.

He stressed that attempts to exploit the potential here politically will bring with it the risk of being unable to use the region’s potential energy resources.

The Turkish President added: “We believe that energy is an element of cooperation and common profit between all countries and societies, and we want to resolve differences through dialogue. We prefer cooperation and are ready for it.”

He continued: “For this reason, I had twice proposed organizing a comprehensive conference on the opportunities available in the eastern Mediterranean, but it is unfortunate that the European Union at the forefront has remained silent about this matter, and silence does not solve problems.”

He added: “The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also proposed that the reserves be operated jointly and revenues be shared until a comprehensive solution is reached on the island, and we support this proposal.”

He said: “What prevents the establishment of cooperation between the two parts of the island at a time when other countries in the region are moving in this direction?”

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He also pointed out that there are many issues on which the two countries can cooperate in the Aegean Sea, adding: “Everything for peace and prosperity for our peoples and future generations.”

He continued that the Turkish Republic, which was established on the foundations of tolerance and embracing other cultures, continues to this day to work with a system that protects endowment institutions and their rights and transfers them to the future, pointing out that the endowment that owns the Hagia Sophia Mosque still exists today.

Regarding illegal immigration, Erdogan pointed to the increase in the migration movement in the world for several reasons, most notably political instability, which has led to an increase in the spread of criminal networks that exploit this and achieve very high profits from illegal immigration.

He added: “I say it again that no country can combat illegal immigration alone,” noting that it is a common test for countries that requires joint efforts.

He stressed the need for the European Union to support Turkey in this regard, stressing that it is necessary to share burdens and responsibilities and take joint steps to prevent migration at its source.

He stressed that the fight against migration should not be limited to cooperation between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea, but rather there is a need for a broad struggle that requires the participation of the entire international community.

We have become the voice of justice and conscience in international relations

President Erdogan pointed out that Turkey and Greece joined NATO together 71 years ago, pointing out that the criterion of being Western or European is not enough to join the European Union.

He explained that Turkey is a founding member of many international organizations such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

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He stressed that Turkey always stands on the side of justice and the voice of conscience in international relations, stressing that one of his country’s most prominent goals is to stand in the right place throughout history.

He added that Turkey’s standing by the Palestinian people who are being subjected to persecution and inhuman treatment, and its criticism of Israel for violating international law, international humanitarian law, and human rights, are considered a natural necessity for its goal (to stand in the right place throughout history).

He pointed out that some European countries have begun to take increasingly similar positions.

He stressed that “instead of discussing Turkey’s orientations and affiliation, we should discuss the fact that some Western countries sometimes ignore the values that they strongly defend.”

He continued, “The silence on the brutality in Gaza is the most prominent example of this. In fact, by opposing the genocide in Gaza, we are also defending the basic values of Western society.”

He added: “The basic rights of the people of Gaza of all ages are being violated. Where are the values of Western civilization in terms of silence about blatant human rights violations, ignoring people’s property rights, systematically confiscating their homes and lands, and depriving Palestinians of their right to determine their future?”

He added: “Is bombing hospitals, shooting schools, refugee camps, markets, and killing civilians consistent with Western values? Is it acceptable for the West to ask people in Gaza to ‘go south’ and drop bombs on those who go there?”

President Erdogan concluded by saying: “Now I ask: Is Turkey the one who belongs to the West or the Western countries that are deliberately silent about everything that is happening in Gaza?”