Referring to the upsurge in incendiary statements emanating from Ankara, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday that he hopes the tension doesn’t spill over to the ground level, adding, “This rhetoric leads us nowhere.”
“This is an unpleasant development because I also had the impression after the meeting with President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan that we had found a framework for reconciliation,” he said, bemoaning that instead “there was an unprecedented barrage of overflights and Ankara’s “unthinkable argument about supposedly reduced sovereignty in the Greek islands.”
Erdogan has said that he will no longer speak to Mitsotakis; however, the Greek leader said, “I imagine at some point we will talk because we have to talk.”
“I do not hold a grudge. However, I will defend the Greek positions with the certainty that we are in the right.”
Greece, he stressed, “is ready to defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu once again questioned Greek sovereignty over the Aegean islands.
In a joint press conference with his counterpart from North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has sent two letters to the UN stating that Greece is violating the treaties and claimed that these islands were ceded to Greece on the condition that they are demilitarized.
“Greece must respond manfully to these letters we have sent. Let it say that it is not violating the demilitarized status of the islands. We have documents in our hands. None of the reasons for the violation applies. If it does not end the violations, we will start discussing the sovereignty of the islands. Their sovereignty will be questioned,” he emphatically said.
At the same time, Erdogan’s nationalist coalition partner Devlet Bahceli raised the issue of the Dodecanese islands, saying that the “the heart and face of the Dodecanese are turned toward Turkey! Whoever touches our vein, we will uproot their heart.”