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Turkey has strayed from its European path, Greek defence minister says

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos (right)

Instead of following the desired European path, Turkey is following a new path, as manifested by its provocations both towards Cyprus and Greece, Greek National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has said.

In statements during a visit to the “Andreas Papandreou” airbase in Pafos accompanied by Cypriot Defence Minister Savvas Angelides, Kammenos said Cyprus and Greece were at a significant phase of their history as “they are countries producing natural gas and petroleum at a later stage”.

Greece is following Cyprus in this process and that causes reactions from Turkey, he said, noting that Greece wishes for peaceful co-existence with Turkey in the context of international law and the respect of good neighbourliness.

“This should also be sought by Turkey,” he went on to say, adding however that “the recent provocations in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and in Greek territorial waters and airspace, the provocative statements made, as well as the capture of two Greek military officers, show that instead of following a European part desired by all, Turkey follows a new path.”

He criticised Turkey that, instead of releasing the two Greek officers arrested in the borders with Greece, chose to detain them in maximum security prison.

These officers are citizens of the EU, guarding the European borders and are fellow NATO members, he said, adding that Greece expects the hostage situation would be over soon.

Turkey, he concluded, should realise that such practices are not helpful neither to good neighbourliness nor to its own image towards the EU.

Angelides praised Kammenos` interest over the developments in Cyprus, adding that he and his Greek counterpart had the opportunity to exchange views on what is happening in their territorial waters and their future actions for the cooperation between the two countries.

Nicosia is currently developing natural resources discovered within the Republic’s exclusive economic zone, with several international companies involved in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities.

Last month, Turkish warships blocked twice a vessel bound for drilling activities in Cyprus’ EEZ block 3 on behalf of Italian energy company ENI.

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