Greece accuses Turkey of ‘imperialist fantasies’

Greece accuses Turkey of ‘imperialist fantasies’
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis after a trilateral summit, at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Oct. 21, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 October 2020

Greece accuses Turkey of ‘imperialist fantasies’

Greece accuses Turkey of ‘imperialist fantasies’
  • Mitsotakis said Turkey had been entertaining ‘imperialist fantasies with aggressive actions from Syria to Libya, from Somalia to Cyprus and the Aegean to the Caucasus’
  • The three leaders ‘condemned Turkey’s actions in Varosha’ in violation of UN Security Council resolutions on the former Cyprus seaside resort

NICOSIA: Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Turkey of “imperialist fantasies” in the eastern Mediterranean during a meeting on Wednesday with the leaders of Cyprus and Egypt.
Mitsotakis said Turkey had been using “extreme rhetoric” and taking unilateral actions while ignoring international order as well as appeals for dialogue from the European Union, Russia and the United States.
The Greek leader said Turkey had been entertaining “imperialist fantasies with aggressive actions from Syria to Libya, from Somalia to Cyprus and the Aegean to the Caucasus.”
Mitsotakis made the remarks at a trilateral meeting in Nicosia with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
In a joint statement, the three leaders “condemned Turkey’s actions in Varosha” in violation of UN Security Council resolutions on the former Cyprus seaside resort.
The breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus earlier this month reopened Varosha, which Greek Cyriot residents abandoned during the Turkish invasion and occupation of the island’s northern third in 1974.
Cyprus, Egypt and Greece also denounced Turkey’s “unilateral provocations” over energy exploration in disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean and its role in war-torn Libya and Syria.
Mitsotakis said such actions involved “drawing arbitrary maps or signing invalid memoranda” as in the case of Libya.
The three countries hold regular summits as part of their closer energy cooperation as they seek to create a regional energy hub, along with Israel, supplying gas to Europe.
“Our meeting today takes place at a particularly difficult time for the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean,” Anastasiades told reporters.
“Turkey is constantly escalating tensions and undermining regional stability... Turkey is violating the sovereign rights of Cyprus and Greece,” he said.
The situation was compounded last November when Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized government signed an accord on maritime boundaries.
Greece, Cyprus and Egypt denounced the agreement as “illegal” for infringing on their economic rights in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea.
It prompted Egypt and Greece to sign a maritime demarcation deal in August.
El-Sisi on Wednesday praised the agreement with Greece as an example of what could be achieved when “international law and institutions were respected.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the Egypt-Greece agreement as worthless and vowed to keep in place his disputed pact with the Tripoli government.
He has also vowed to continue Turkey’s search for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
The row over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean saw NATO allies Greece and Turkey stage rival military drills in August.
At a summit this month, the European Union threatened sanctions if Turkey failed to stop what the bloc says is illegal drilling and energy exploration activities in waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.


Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19
Updated 25 min 9 sec ago

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19
  • Manila brings home 400,000 overseas workers affected by the pandemic

MANILA: Philippines Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reminded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to remain vigilant against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and follow the health and safety protocols of their host countries, especially with the emergence of a new and more contagious strain.

More COVID-19 infections have been recorded among Filipinos abroad, with the highest number of cases reported in the Middle East.

“There is no room for complacency. We cannot let our guard down. Despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in your country of work, the virus remains an imminent threat to your health and safety,” Bello said in a statement on Monday.

Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Bello said the Middle East remains the region with “highest recorded cases of infection among OFWs at 7,844 as of Jan. 13.”

The region also has the highest number of OFW deaths due to COVID-19, reaching 619 according to the report.

On Sunday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that “Qatar reported the single biggest number of cases at 3,873, with 14 new COVID-19 infections among OFWs in the last 24 hours. Nineteen OFW casualties were recorded.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a report on Monday, confirmed a total of 13,591 COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad as of Jan. 18. Of the total number, 3,968 are undergoing treatment; 8,682 have recovered, while 941 died.

Based on the DFA data, countries in Europe and the Americas have over 3,000 cases with 317 deaths, while there were 2,746 OFW infections in Asia and the Pacific, with 21 deaths.

More than 400,000 overseas Filipino workers affected by the pandemic have been brought home by the government, the DOLE reported during the weekend.

Latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week alone, up from 7,895 the previous week.

In a report to Bello, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said total repatriates who have undergone quarantine and been cleared of COVID-19 stood at 410,211 as of Jan. 16.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” Bello said.

It is estimated that about 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs will be repatriated this year. Those awaiting repatriation form part of the over 520,000 OFWs displaced by the pandemic.