26 May, 2006
During the regular briefing at the Greek foreign ministry, meanwhile, ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos stressed that Greece had at no time during the incident allowed room for ambiguity regarding the protection of its sovereign rights and accompanying functions, fully confirming that search-and rescue operations in the area were Greece's responsibility.
"This incident could have had elements of danger that no one desires and might have led to more dangerous situations," he added.
He also pointed out that the EU had stressed policies of respecting good neighborly relations as a prerequisite for Euro-Turkish progress.
"Turkey's stance does not demonstrate signs of respect for good neighborly relations and all these events form part of Greece's assessment," Koumoutsakos said, when asked if the policy being followed with respect to Ankara was effective.
At the same time, he pointed out that Greece had expected Turkey's compliance to take time and encounter difficulties.
"No one had the illusion that Turkey would immediately change its behavior after October 3," Koumoutsakos told reporters, adding that Greece was dealing with the problem with calm, level-headedness and determination.
He refused to comment on NATO's reaction to the incident, however.
Koumoutsakos also underlined that communication with Turkey had helped de-escalate tension and avoid misunderstandings that might have arisen otherwise.
Asked whether Athens had demanded an apology from Ankara for the incident, and whether such an apology was given, the spokesman said that Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul had expressed his sorrow over the event when he contacted Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
Source: Athens News Agency