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Press Office

Istanbul, 15 June 2022

Greek Parliamentary Delegation responds to Turkey’s Interior Minister during NATO PA meeting

In the framework of the meeting of the Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group and the Subcommittee on NATO partnerships of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) taking place in Istanbul, 14-17 June 2022, with the participation of the Greek Parliamentary Delegation, the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, was "very vocal" in denouncing Greece for refoulements in the Aegean, non-implementation of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement and harbouring terrorists. 

In response to the Turkish Minister, the Head of the Greek Delegation Spilios Livanos stated that once again Turkey is aggressively promoting the bilateral differences between the two countries, in an Alliance Forum. Mr Livanos pointed out that Greece defends the full implementation of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement by both sides and stressed that accusations vis-à-vis refoulements in the Aegean are unfounded and unreliable. The Head of the Greek Delegation added that the protection of life at sea is the main concern of Greece and the guarding of the EU borders its first priority. According to Mr Livanos, Greece welcomes returns to Syria and possible new relocations to the EU. However, he expressed concern, since 1.908 requests for returns have been submitted to Turkey, which have not been answered in the slightest. Concluding, Mr Livanos clarified that Greece remains committed to the fight against terrorism, in all its forms, while cooperating with Turkey in this field. 

Then, MP Manousos Voloudakis took the floor and reiterated that any accusations, coming from either Turkey or NGO’s, regarding refoulements in the Aegean, have been examined at European Parliament level and are unfounded. He argued that Turkey instrumentalises the migration issue in the context of political expediency, and that irregular migration should be better managed and not serve political motives. He also added that Greece continues to guard its borders, in the best possible way, as they are also borders of the EU, a union of democratic countries. Mr Voloudakis concluded by saying that Turkey is harbouring anti-Western sentiments and thinks that the West is “conspiring” against it, while it can be a partner and ally of the Western states provided it approaches the challenges of the times with realism. 

MP Theodora Tzakri, referring to Mr Soylu’s complaints, said she was against the instrumentalisation of the migration issue. Greece –she said- respects the rules of International Law, condemns terrorism in all its forms and is cooperating in good faith with Turkey to fight against it.



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