Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in an exclusive interview with To Vima, says that the two Greek army officers imprisoned in a Turkish jail cannot expect privileged treatment, which suggests there will be no political move to release them.
Yildirim also confirms that Turkey’s theory that dozens of rock islets in the Aegean are of ambiguous sovereignty – the so-called grey zones – remains in full force.
On the issue of a settlement of the Cyprus problem, Yildirim appears to suggest that Ankara is oriented towards a two-state solution.
As for domestic policy, Yildirim rejects that the Erdogan regime has violated human rights and freedom of the press, and he insists that Turkey remains a reliable Nato ally.
Yildirim said that the root of Aegean tensions is that Greece views it as a Greek sea.
“The fundamental source of Greek-Turkish tensions is the Greek perception that all of the Aegean is a Greek sea, ignoring Turkey’s legal rights and legitimate interests as a coastal state,” he said, adding that calm in the region is in the interest of both sides.
Yildirim said that constant dialogue is the best way to avert dangerous developments, and that communication with PM Alexis Tsipras is at a good level.
Yildirim cited tourism as an area in which the two peoples can come closer, as 921,000 Turks visited Greece in 2017, and 595,000 Greeks visited Turkey.