Greece was able to get a clear, decisive and stern decision at the European Council concerning Turkey's activities in the Cyprus Republic's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday in an interview with CNN Greece. He also made it absolutely clear that Greece will not allow Turkey to begin drilling within its waters.
"The major difference in yesterday's European Council decision is that it passes from the level of rhetorical condemnation to the announcement of strict, targeted measures against Turkey if it continues this provocative behaviour, which violates the sovereign rights of the Cyprus Republic," Tsipras said.
Referring to a "major and important shift" on the part of the European Council in favour of Greek interests, the prime minister said that this was the result of significant efforts made in recent years to highlight Greece's role and importance in the region, through multilateral partnerships of a strategic nature, but also by increasing Greece's prestige through the way that it has handled crucial issues, such as its exit from the crisis or the name dispute with its northern neighbours.
"Turkey is provoking at this time, but its provocativeness is a sign of weakness," Tsipras said, adding that any "spasmodic action" by Greece's eastern neighbour could lead nowhere.
"The risk of an accident - not a deliberate incident in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean - exists in any case when we have daily violations and dogfights in the Aegean," he added, expressing his belief that Turkey has no plans to trigger an incident that could lead to hostilities "since that will further weaken its position."
"Turkey is currently isolated and at odds with Europe and the United States," he pointed out, while noting that the central dilemma for Turkey was whether it remained fixed on a course toward the West or whether it would go to the East.
Asked what would happen if drilling was attempted in Kastellorizo, the Greek prime minister was clear:
"The Greek Armed Forces have plans and these plans are known to us, we have studied them, they have come to the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence and we have approved them. It will not get to that because we will prevent them from getting there," he said.
He noted that Greece was a sovereign country that was able to defence its sovereign rights and dominion, and that "there is no scenario where an offshore drill starts drilling into the Greek continental shelf because this cannot happen in practice, it will be prevented."
Tsipras also referred to the Cyprus problem, noting that this cannot be solved as long as there are anachronistic 'guarantees' and occupation troops remain on the island. He noted that the government, far from paving the way for "painful compromises in the Aegean and Cyprus", has adopted a strategy that "constantly strengthens the country's prestige and reliability and is strategically clear on the main and greatest front in our national issues, which is Turkey and not Albania or North Macedonia."
This "constantly strengthens the country's position and does not leave any window for complaisance in matters of national sovereignty, both in the Aegean and in Cyprus," he said.