BRUSSELS – A day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he no longer recognizes Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and will refuse to meet him at a planned summit, the European Commission on Tuesday urged Turkey, an EU candidate country, to steer clear of activities that might escalate tension with existing members of the bloc.
Speaking to Kathimerini, Dana Spinant, deputy chief spokesperson of the Commission, sought to supplement comments made during an earlier briefing in Brussels, stressing that “Mitsotakis is the leader of an EU government, recognized as such by the entire world.”
Spinant clarified that, as pointed out by the European Council conclusions in March and June 2021, “Turkey is expected to engage constructively with the EU and its member states, and undertake steps towards de-escalation.”
“Respect for neighbors and fostering good neighborly relations form the basis for a constructive cooperation with the European Union,” she said.
In an earlier press briefing, the Commission spokesperson had declined to comment on Erdogan’s controversial remarks triggered by Mitsotakis’ criticism of Turkey on his recent visit to the United States.
“We cannot comment and we will not comment on bilateral meetings between leaders to address various bilateral issues or other,” Spinant told the midday briefing, adding that “obviously we promote and encourage very good cooperation between leaders.”