Turkey and Greece have to go beyond stereotypes, says SYRIZA officialSource : http://www.todayszaman.com/news-279910-turkey-and-greece-have-to-go-beyond-stereotypes-says-syriza-official.html
9 May 2012 / SELAHATTİN SEVİ / FATİH UĞUR , ATHENS
A senior official from the Greek party that was given a mandate to form the country’s new government has sent warm messages to Turkey, stating that Turkey and Greece have many common points to overcome the historical problems, which have became stereotypes.
“Turkey and Greece need to be partners. They have too much in common to risk a useless confrontation,” Rena Dourou, a member of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), told Today’s Zaman in an exclusive interview.
SYRIZA came in second in Sunday’s elections in Greece, with 16.7 percent and 52 seats.
Alexis Tsipras, the head of SYRIZA, received the mandate on Tuesday, a day after the election winner, conservative New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, failed to gather enough support from other parties, particularly SYRIZA, to form a government. Tsipras, the 38-year-old leader who is opposed to the terms of Greece’s bailout agreements, will on Tuesday try to form a government after a general election produced a stalemate in parliament.
Dourou stated that SYRIZA has always been the political force trying to find ways to help create confidence between Turkey and Greece.
Dourou said that Turkey has to continue its democratic reforms and follow the path of candidacy to the EU. “Thanks to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has gone a long way toward building a brand new political configuration, it is not a hazard that nowadays people in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are dreaming of the Turkish model,” Dourou said.
Dourou underlined that Turkey is playing an active role in the Middle East, particularly in the Syrian crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Regarding the relations between Turkey and Greece, Dourou said that she recently read a book by Melek Fırat, a professor at Ankara University, about the relations between Greece and Turkey and the Cyprus problem. “I found very interesting the way the different historical narratives of the two establishments are defining our national interpretation. Knowing each other is always helpful. And nowadays is more urgent than ever!” Dourou said.
When asked about SYRIZA’s policy on solving the problems of Turkish minorities in Greece, who supported the party in Sunday’s elections, Dourou replied that their party had a clear policy concerning the matter of minorities. “Minorities’ problems must be solved by state services on the basis of equality of rights, without any kind of discrimination. We [SYRIZA] are very well aware of the fact that during the economic crisis, there has been a tendency to marginalize the problems of minorities, even the minorities themselves. In that way, the members of the minorities are becoming the victims of the economic crisis and this is, according to us, highly unacceptable. We are against it, and we will fight for that not to happen. The crisis must not be the pretext for discriminatory policies against minorities. It is highly unjust, undemocratic and unfair,” Dourou said.
Dourou added that two parties, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the ND, have huge responsibilities because Turkish minorities became the victims of their discriminatory policies. “SYRIZA has always been the responsible political force that wants to guarantee the rights of minorities, especially during these very difficult times,” Dourou said.
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