Amid renewed tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Wednesday that Greece “will face all challenges with consistency, stability, confidence and always with a commitment to international law, as it always does.”
Speaking during a meeting with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, he said that Greece is not contributing to the tension with Turkey and expressed certainty that “we will have the full support of the European Union.”
For her part, Sakellaropoulou bemoaned that Turkey “continues to create tensions, challenging any notion of good-neighborliness and our sovereign rights.” She said Greece will always protect its sovereign rights “with respect for international law.”
Turkey's behavior was also commented on by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, who said that Greece’s red lines are clearly marked, adding that the country does not hesitate to “show its teeth” in the face of external threats.
Responding to a question in Parliament regarding Turkish provocations, Panagiotopoulos said Greece had demonstrated its determination during the “organized attempt to violate our borders in Evros.” “This is how we will react to any other issue,” the minister said.
“We have stated in a very clear and categorical fashion what our red lines are in the event that Turkey’s aggressive behavior escalates,” he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed that Ankara’s energy designs, which include drilling in areas demarcated by the Turkish-Libya memorandum, are proceeding as planned. Turkish authorities have already divided the zones agreed between Tripoli and Ankara in the Eastern Mediterranean, and there is readiness for drilling, he said.
Turkey’s actions, Cavusoglu stressed to Turkish TV station 24 TV, are “legal,” while he reiterated one of Ankara’s constant positions, according to which “the islands do not have a continental shelf, only territorial waters that reach 6 nautical miles.”
Referring to Istanbul’s Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, Cavusoglu said Greece has no say over what happens to the former Orthodox cathedral, while accusing Athens of undermining the religious freedoms of its Muslim community. “Hagia Sophia is on Turkish territory, it was conquered,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying.