‘I am here today, οn an unofficial visit, for ‘Evagoria’. Evagoras Pallikaridis leads all Hellenism, by his example, his self-sacrifice.
May the new Minister of Defence of Cyprus succeed in his work. May the Defender General stand by him and I hope that we will keep up the close cooperation. The fact that we are here today, in ‘Andreas Papandreou’ base, a base-symbol, is not by chance; It shows that Cyprus and Greece have always been close and Hellenism is united both during easy and hard times.
The message I want to pass from Cyprus is exactly this: When Hellenism is solid and united, when no petty political disagreements are involved and national interest is what unites us, then we have nothing to be afraid of and we are victorious.
This year, Greece and Cyprus undergo a very important phase regarding their history. These two countries nowadays produce natural gas and later on they will be oil producers. Greece follows the way paved by Cyprus on this matter and this provokes a lot of reaction on behalf of Turkey.
We wish to peacefully co-exist with Turkey, in the context of the international law and respect to good neighborly relations. Turkey should act along the same lines. Unfortunately, the recent provocations both in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, as well as in the Greek territorial waters, in the air space, with the continuous violations, infringements and over-flights, with the provocative statements of both competent and non-competent persons in Turkey and the last incident of the two Greek militaries, an Officer and a Non-Commissioned Officer, held as hostages, which was the result of a simple border incident, unfortunately indicate that Turkey follows another path, instead of the European one, that we all desire.
At this point, I would like to point out, since a lot has been heard and written in the media, that the Greek Government - and I believe all Greek people- have no different opinion. Greece presumes that this simple incident, which has happened before many times in the borders, and which could easily result in the return of the officers, was taken to justice by Turkey’s choice, imprisoning two Greek officers in a maximum security prison. Two officers, who are members of the European Union, who guard the European borders and belong to a NATO army were imprisoned by Turkey in a maximum security prison instead of being released.
I wish the hostage incident of the Greek officers ends as soon as possible, and that they return home, hoping that Turkey realizes that such behavior is neither for the benefit of the good neighborly relations nor does it help its image towards the institutions, it wants to satisfy, and I mean the European Union.
In the days to come we will participate in a meeting, regarding the European Union’s relations with Turkey, and it would be good, until that meeting – and as soon as possible – to terminate this hostage incident of the Greek Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer’.