Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias issued a sharp response to Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdag, who claimed that PM Alexis Tsipras had lied to the Turkish government, asserting that he would hand over the eight Turkish military officers who were recently granted asylum in Greece, after the abortive military coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, 2016.
Bozdag said Greece is coddling coup plotters.
“With certain statements that the prime minister of Greece made immediately after the coup, we had a positive climate and the impression that they [the eight] would be extradited. Admittedly we had hopes. We thought the word of Mr. Tsipras was the word of a man. Then we saw the activation of judicial mechanisms and these coup participants were not extradited,” Bozdag said.
“Such absurd statements are characteristic of those who conduct foreign policy with an eye to their domestic audience. Turkey knows very well that we are not one of those countries with which one can play around. Unfortunately, a segment of Turkish politicians cannot understand the relationship between politics and the rule of law,” Kotzias replied.
Upbeat on FYROM solution
Meanwhile, Kotzias appears upbeat on the prospects of a FYROM settlement, noting that the three possible names on the table are Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Northern Macedonia, and Republic of New Macedonia.
Kotzias indicated that when the time came for Skopje to say the great yes or the great no, “it realised the great difficulties in implementing it [a settlement] and that played a role in it wanting to review and discuss certain clarifications about the agreement itself.”
Asked about the large demonstration in Skopje, Kotzias said it concerned mainly government policy.
He said the agreement is a good compromise as it is a win-win situation.
“It is a compromise with give and take and it will benefit the development of our country and of our friendly neighbouring country and their relations, as well as the entire region,” Kotzias said.