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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Defence Minister Fotis Kouvelis' interview on ALPHA TV to journalists Lora Ioannou and Spyros Lambrou

The Alternate Minister of National Defence Fotis Kouvelis, in an interview he gave on Monday, 2 July, 2018, to journalists Lora Ioannou and Spyros Lambrou on ALPHA TV Station, stated among other things:

What Erdogan tries to demonstrate is that he has alleged claims in the Aegean Sea; this is why he refers to disputed areas and claims over specific Greek islands. I estimate that his “problem” is not the Aegean Sea because there is a clear demarcation of our rights under the Treaty of Lausanne, as well as Paris Peace Treaties and International Law. And he is well aware that the alleged update and review, as he says about Lausanne Treaty, will come to a dead-end. But he does this to maintain the field of his alleged claims in the Aegean Sea and to establish – this is his objective – his presence in the wider area of Cyprus’ EEZ.

The foreign policy of Erdogan and Turkey now is contradictory regarding what they seem to claim. On the one hand, he seeks to buy F-35 for Turkey; on the other hand, he contracts with the Russians, with Putin, to purchase S-400. He has a big problem with the Kurds. He wants to find some settlement with the USA. On the other hand, he has open issues related to Cyprus’ EEZ, in the sense that he raises claims. And suddenly, just after the meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, he also remembered stating that Turkey has a European orientation too. All this cannot be combined in a total frame of foreign policy.

We have a capable deterrence force. I would like to state clearly that we will not be involved in the competition of armaments which Erdogan has started. We do what is necessary, what is required in order to reinforce our deterrence force.