German chancellor underlines importance of dialogue between NATO allies Greece, Türkiye

Potential of Eastern Mediterranean should be exploited in interest of all neighboring countries, says Olaf Scholz.

German chancellor underlines importance of dialogue between NATO allies Greece, Türkiye

The German chancellor on Thursday underlined the importance of dialogue between NATO allies Greece and Türkiye.

Speaking at a joint press briefing after meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens, Olaf Scholz said good neighborly relations between Ankara and Athens are vital for the two countries and for Europe and NATO.

He reiterated that problems between the two countries should be resolved based on dialogue and international law, and noted: “Potential of Eastern Mediterranean should be exploited in the interest of all neighboring countries.”

Scholz, in response to a question, said “a NATO ally shouldn’t question the sovereignty of another NATO ally.”

Asked about the recent arms swap deal between the two countries -- under which Greece was transferred German-made Marder armored vehicles by Berlin in return for sending its own Soviet-era BMP-1s to Ukraine -- Scholz said it is up to Athens to decide how and where to use them.

On the same matter, Mitsotakis, for his part, stressed that Marder vehicles would be deployed to the northeastern Meric (Evros) River region, bordering Türkiye, as Greek armed forces see fit.

He said the two countries, despite “excellent relations,” disagree on some matters, including Athens’ demand for war reparations from Berlin for the damage that occurred during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation.

In a related development, the main opposition party SYRIZA-PS said there is nothing to be happy or optimistic about the visit in relation to Greek interests.

Scholz’s remarks on Türkiye were general, the party noted in a statement, adding that he shunned away from condemning Ankara.

Germany continues to exclude Greece from the German-led Berlin Conference on Libya, into which Ankara is included, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the news outlet Left. gr, close to Greece's leftist main opposition SYRIZA-PS, claimed that Scholz was very careful in wording while talking on relations with Ankara and energy matters.

Similarly, a pro-Greek Communist Party (KKE) news outlet, called, said “nothing new came out” of the visit.

Differences between Athens and Berlin on the EU-wide price cap for energy prices remain, it stressed.

On the other hand, Kathimerini, a major pro-government daily, claimed that the visit opened a new chapter in German-Greek relations.