Athens is fully prepared to take on and refute Ankara’s claims and allegations at the forthcoming NATO summit in Madrid next week, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis conveying the message from Brussels where the European Council is meeting that it has the backing of the European Union.
“Athens is fully covered by the draft conclusions, which clearly asks Turkey to stop disputing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of EU countries and return to a process of de-escalation,” said Mitsotakis upon his arrival at a meeting on Thursday where European Union leaders agreed to make Ukraine a candidate for membership in the bloc, in what was seen as a symbolically strong win for Kyiv amid the war with Russia.
Mitsotakis hastened to express the hope that Turkey will heed the call this time.
“I really hope that Turkey will listen this time because only in this way will it be possible to reduce the tension that has been created in the Eastern Mediterranean over the past two months, for which the neighboring country is to blame,” he said.
Discussions between Turkey, Finland and Sweden about the Nordic countries’ applications to join NATO will continue at an Alliance summit in Madrid next week. Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin has said the summit is not a deadline for the issue.
Turkey, nonetheless, appeared unfazed regarding Greece on Thursday and continued to publicly claim that it would challenge the sovereignty of Greek islands if Greece does not to proceed with their demilitarization.
In particular, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay insisted that “if the demilitarization of the islands in the Aegean is not done soon, we will challenge the sovereignty of the islands under international law and agreements.”
in a joint press conference with Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, he blamed Mitsotakis for likening what is happening in Ukraine today to what Turkey has done in Cyprus.
Mitsotakis is, Oktay said, “the prime minister of a country that is militarizing the Aegean islands, blatantly violating international agreements.”
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could possibly visit the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus on July 20, which marks the anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of the island nation in 1974.