BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 A.M.) – The Greek government has warned Turkey of its willingness to defend its national interests in any possible escalation between the two parties.

Greek Deputy Minister of Defense, General Alkiviadis Stefanis, in a press statement on Friday, accused the Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, of making threats towards Greece, while inviting Ankara to hold dialogue with Athens.

“There are various levels and ways to deal with that, and Mr. Akar chooses this method, and he threatens us on the one hand and invites us to negotiate on the other hand … We are ready for dialogue, and in the end we hold consultations on levels,” Stefanis said.

The military official stressed that the Greek government “is trying to announce at all levels its national positions, and at the same time be prepared at all levels for all possibilities.”

Responding to a question about the possibility of a new “hot circle” between Athens and Ankara, Stefanis said:

“We are not afraid of anything, because we are aware of our ability to develop it, and for this reason we study various scenarios every day.”

The official pointed out that this was reflected in the first air exercises carried out by Greece in the past two days in a marine area included in the agreement between Turkey and the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), stressing that the Greek army commander ordered without any prior warning to implement a plan and this was done in the best possible way.

In turn, the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, expressed, in the wake of a series of meetings he held to inform the opposition parties in the country on the agreement concluded earlier this month with Italy to redraw the maritime borders, expressing the conviction of the Athens government of its “strength and international alliances”, stressing the country “has the will and ability to defend its national interests effectively”.

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He continued through his Twitter account: “The unity of the Greek people and their confidence in international law and the capabilities of deterrence and the defense of the state and the support of our allies and partners constitute strong pillars of the national efforts aimed at ensuring our sovereignty and our sovereign rights.”

This statement comes against the backdrop of increasing tensions in the Mediterranean region in light of the military escalation in Libya, where Turkey provides military support to the Government of National Accord, one of the two parties to the Libyan conflict.

Tension also persists over Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean drilling projects off the coast of northern Cyprus, despite opposition from its neighbors.

 

Sources: RT, Greek City Times

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