Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday urged the European Union to take a tougher line on Turkey.
“Western moderation often seems to encourage Turkey’s arbitrary behavior,” Mitsotakis said during a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It’s time for European principles to translate into European practice,” he said.
He added that Greece wants to have good relations with its neighbors on the basis of international law.
“[Greece], however, will not tolerate threats to its [sovereign] rights,” he said.
In her comments, Merkel said that all countries should respect international law and the resolutions of the United Nations, adding that reaching solutions through dialogue is “significant but hard.”
The German chancellor agreed with Mitsotakis that Greece’s problems with Turkey are also a problem for Europe – as exemplified by the migration issue.
However, she added that a full consensus on all issues is not always possible.
Voice of reason
Mitsotakis praised Merkel’s political legacy as well as her role during Greece’s 10-year economic crisis which saw the debt-hit country close to leaving the eurozone.
“Merkel was the voice of reason and stability. She may have been unfair at times but decisive nevertheless, like in 2015 when she refused Greece’s ostracism from Europe,” he said.
The Greek premier also praised the record of his conservative administration telling Merkel that Greece has made significant progress since the bailout years. “[Greece] is no longer a source of deficits. It’s a modern state.”
“Europe and Greece were tested by wrong decisions that came back to bite them under the guise of populism and demagoguery,” he said.
“You too admitted that you asked too much from the Greeks,” Mitsotakis told Merkel, adding that “thankfully, neither convenient austerity policy, nor cheap national slogans stood the test of time. Community solidarity and true patriotism were victorious in the end,” he said.