Referring to the remark by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “Mitsotakis does not exist for me,” the Greek prime minister reiterated at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday that Athens wants the channels of communication with Ankara to remain open, but hastened to add that he will defend Greece’s sovereignty.
“If President Erdogan thinks that I will not defend the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of Greece and not make the case to the international audience that Turkey is behaving as a revisionist power, then he is wrong,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a conversation with Borge Brende, the president of the World Economic Forum.
Mitsotakis refuted the accusation by Erdogan that he did not keep his word after their meeting in Istanbul.
“I went to Istanbul and met with President Erdogan. I thought it was a good meeting, but a month later we saw an unprecedented number of overflights over the Greek islands,” he said, adding, “This behavior is completely unacceptable and I will raise that issue whenever I can until Turkey changes its behavior.”
Erdogan had announced on Monday he had no intention of ever meeting with Mitsotakis again, following the latter’s criticism of Turkey on his recent visit to the United States.
The Greek PM said that this was not the first time the Turkish leader had made such such comments, adding that in March 2020, when Turkey tried to instrumentalize migration, sending tens of thousands of desperate people to cross into Greece over land, the government stood firm and defended the country’s borders. He said the government also brought the European Union leadership to the Greek-Turkish border.
He said that at the time Erdogan was saying the same thing, “that he did not want to talk to me, adding, “So, maybe he will change his mind.”
Mitsotakis also referred extensively to energy issues, noting that the sector will be a critical battlefield in the short term. He said the EU must lead the way in energy transition, renewables and new technologies related to climate change. He stressed that the price of Russian gas “does not reflect the fundamental principles of the market” and for this reason he is backing some sort of ceiling for the wholesale natural gas market in Europe. He added that he will reiterate the proposal at the European Council.