Greece only stands to gain by seeking to improve relations with neighbouring Turkey, but only within the framework of the Lausanne Treaty, which is non-negotiable, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos indicated on Thursday in an interview with Real FM.
"We are going through a phase of crisis in EU-Turkish relations, we are in a region that is destabilised, while the wider area faces multiple and overlapping crises," Tzanakopoulos pointed out. "Consequently, at this stage the only safe path for Greece is to seek to substantially upgrade relations with the neighbouring country, both overall and on individual issues," he added.
This held true whether the issues concerned the Aegean or Greece's demand for a final end to Turkish violations, refugee management, or economic relations, Tzanakopoulos said.
"Greece only stands to gain if with clarity and determination, and given - within the framework we are discussing - the foundation stone of this framework, ie the Treaty of Lausanne, it seeks a substantial upgrading of relations with Turkey," Tzanakopoulos underlined.
He also acknowledged, however, that there were issues that undermined this relationship: "There are open problems but the only way to resolve them is by expanding political and diplomatic dialogue and this is Greece's main goal. The Turkish President's visit can contribute in this direction," he noted.
Asked whether Erdogan's interview on Wednesday has made things more difficult or whether it can be considered on a par with the Turkish leader's usual statements, Tzanakopoulos noted that "the fact that the statements have been repeated at various times does not in any way mean it was a development that we could welcome."
"It caused us intense concern and gave rise to questions," Tzanakopoulos said, pointing out that "what matters now is to have a real discussion in the context of this visit, which is a truly historic one,but always provided that the framework in which we talk is that set out in the Treaty of Lausanne, which for the Greek side and as a whole is given and non-negotiable."