Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made extensive references to Greek-Turkish relations during his press conference on Friday at the end of the European Council, and clarified that Athens is not going to play the game of rhetorical tension with Ankara, which is directed at the neighboring country’s domestic audience.
“Turkey must stop the extreme aggressive rhetoric of questioning Greek sovereignty,” he said, adding that Greece has responded to every provocation and challenge with substantiated facts.
Mitsotakis said he is always calling on Turkey to engage in “a good-faith dialogue” while noting at the same time that “we are ready to defend our sovereignty with determination.”
Asked if he was open to a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid at next week’s NATO Summit and what he would do if Turkey raised the issue of the demilitarization of the Greek islands, Mitsotakis said he is not the one who has “cut off communication channels with Mr Erdogan.”
“I continue to believe that we should meet and talk. As for the NATO Summit, the agenda is different and you can be sure that if Athens is provoked, it will respond in the strictest way and the appropriate answers will be given.”
He also reiterated his satisfaction with the conclusions adopted by the European Council.
“We are fully covered by the conclusions adopted unanimously and which express their concern about Turkey’s provocations,” he noted. In its conclusions, the EU calls on Ankara to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member-states “and to de-escalate the tension it is cultivating in the Eastern Mediterranean, in order to promote peace and stability in the wider region.”
As for the Western Balkans and their European aspirations, he stressed Greece’s firm position “that the Western Balkans have a place in Europe, and for these countries to move faster in this direction.”