Greek former DefMin: We reached situations that could have evolved into confrontation with Turkey

Greek Former Minister of National Defense Evangelos Apostolakis recently referred to  Greek-Turkish relations. Mr Apostolakis revealed that there were many times that could have evolved into Imia-like situations, as he said.

Asked what was the most difficult moment he faced during his time in the Defense Ministry, Mr. Apostolakis said that it was not just one, but there were many difficult times.

“There were so many moments that could have evolved into Imia-like situations. It happened too many times! If we respond to the challenges and create escalation on our part, at some point things will reach an extreme point,” Mr Apostolakis said.

Phone calls with former PM Tsipras

The former defense minister also revealed that he repeatedly phoned the prime minister “I needed to contact Tsipras to tell him we had a problem,” he described, speaking to SKAI. Answering the question, he added, “The right question is that I don’t know how many times I had slept.”

Speaking about his contacts with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, Mr Apostolakis said they did not discuss state issues. “When we talked with Akar, we had made it clear that we would not solve state issues. I said that I have undertaken to defend an area which according to international law and agreements is this. I am obliged to defende against any violations of the area,” he said.

As for the response from Akar, he said he “agreed that politicians should sit down and find a solution.” Speaking about developments in the Cyprus EEZ, Mr Apostolakis said that Turkey “wants to stop Cyprus’ energy program because [otherwise] it will be left out”. He added that Ankara’s goal is “to bring the Turkish Cypriots onto the table”. “This has not reached us yet, but it is Turkey’s goal,” he estimated.