Turkey excludes Greece from national "foe list"

13:55, September 01, 2010      

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Revising the major priorities of its national security policy, Turkey removes Greece from its threat list. "Our new approach mostly carries vision concept rather than threat concept," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with NTV news channel on Tuesday.

As Ankara seeks to pursue a zero-problem foreign policy with its neighbors, countries which had been regarded through history as enemies, including Russia, Iran, Iraq and Greece, could be removed from Turkey's "National Policy Document," also known as " Secret Constitution," a key defense policy document which includes internal and external threats to national security.

The government, the National Intelligence Service and the General Staff have been working on revising the document that is planned to conclude in October.

Reminding that Turkey had serious changes in relations with its neighbors, Davutoglu said bilateral steps that would be taken from both countries would change attitudes of Turkey and Greece to each other.

Citing the decision taken by Greek Parliament over its claims on Aegean Sea, Davutoglu signaled an expectation of a change on that decision. "Turkey does not take a unilateral step on 12 miles issue," he said.

In 1995, Turkey declared that any Greek attempt to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 miles would constitute a "casus belli," a reason to go into war. Turkey's declaration came after a Greek Parliament decision over territorial waters in Aegean Sea.

Now, Turkey expects Greece to lift its parliament decision. The revised security paper of Turkey will exclude Greece from "foe" status. But a parliament vote is needed to lift the "casus belli."

Davutoglu's remarks came out just before the visit of Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Drucas to Ankara for Turkey-Greece basketball match on Tuesday. The issue will be discussed in the meetings.

Turkey and Greece have been traditional rivals in the eastern Mediterranean. The two NATO countries came close to war due to a dispute over an uninhabited island in the Aegean Sea in 1996.

However, Turkish government's "zero problem" policy with its neighbors has led to a relatively peaceful environment in relations since 2002, when the AK Party came into rule. The two countries have been discussing the dispute on Aegean in exploratory talks.

Source: Xinhua


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