Greece’s relations with Israel are strong and stable and will not change with
the beginning of an Israeli-Turkish rapprochement, Greece’s new ambassador to
Israel said on Thursday.
Spiros Lambridis, Athens’s new envoy to Israel,
said that “regardless of what Israel does with Turkey, we have a strategic
relationship that is autonomous and has nothing to do with
Lambridis said the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement will hopefully
take hold and lead to regional stability. “The more tranquility in the region,
the better,” he said.
Israel’s relations with Turkey’s historic rival
Greece skyrocketed following the breakdown in ties with Ankara after the 2010
Mavi Marmara incident, and included stepped-up economic, tourist, political and
military cooperation. The same was true of Israel’s relations with another
historic Turkish foe, Cyprus.
Israel and Greece are scheduled to hold
their first government-to-government meeting in a few months in Athens, a
meeting the ambassador said is a sign the countries want a continued “fruitful
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on
Saturday with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the day after he called
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for operational errors
that might have led to the loss of life on the Mavi Marmara.
said his assumption was that Netanyahu and Samaras discussed the situation with
Turkey, and that the message was that Greek-Israeli ties would continue to grow
Meanwhile, Israel also took efforts this week to reassure
Cyprus that a closer relationship with Ankara would not come at the expense of
Jerusalem’s ties with Nicosia.
The Cyprus Mail this week quoted Israeli
Deputy Ambassador Shani Cooper as saying that the “the normalization of
relations between Turkey and Israel was an important bilateral step but it will
not affect any multilateral, trilateral or bilateral relations between Israel
and other countries. Israel will maintain its close relations with Cyprus, and
continue strengthening them as we have done the last few years.”
paper on Thursday quoted Cypriot Commerce Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis as saying
Netanyahu’s apology “was anticipated.”
“I assure you we are monitoring
the situation and we will secure our state’s sovereign rights,” Lakkotrypis
said, amid concern in Cyprus that closer Israeli-Turkish ties will lead to more
collaboration between those countries regarding hydrocarbons in the eastern
Mediterranean, and less Israeli-Cypriot cooperation on the
Lakkotrypis is due to visit Israel next month, followed a month
later by newly elected Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.