Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis issued a stern response on Friday to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the unsubstantiated claims he made against Greece during his speech at the UN General Assembly earlier this week.
At the same time, the Greek premier sought to appeal to Turkey as a whole and but primarily its people, stressing, “We are not enemies, but neighbors,” noting that the majority in both countries do not want political conflict and hostility.
In his speech from the podium of the UN General Assembly late Friday night (Greek time), Mitsotakis identified security, stability and the territorial integrity of Greece as Athens’ red lines against Turkish aggression.
He referred to Ankara’s revisionist agenda and its destabilizing role for the region, and made specific references to the incendiary rhetoric emanating from Ankara.
Mitsotakis also specifically addressed Turkey’s unfounded and unacceptable accusations about the Greek islands and the questioning of their sovereignty, the violations at sea and in the air, and the systematic disinformation campaign against Greece.
He also denounced Turkey’s unilateral decision to suspend contacts at the highest level.
Given Ankara’s incessant weaponization of the migration issue, it formed a key part of the PM’s speech, conveying the message that Greece will protect its borders, while respecting human rights. Mitsotakis referred in detail to the war in Ukraine and the battle that democracies are fighting against authoritarian regimes. He also noted the consequences of the war for Europe in both the energy and geopolitical fields, which he linked to the Turkish revisionism that “threatens” stability in Southeastern Europe.
With a difficult winter lying ahead, he also decried Russia’s weaponization of energy and Moscow’s bid to destabilize democratically elected governments. He reiterated that there is now a need for diversification of energy sources and a shift to renewable energy sources. In this context, he urged the citizens of the West to be constantly informed about what is at stake in Ukraine and the battle to be fought for democracy and against misinformation.
His speech also included references to climate change and the green transition, but also to the need to protect cultural heritage, conveying a clear message on the need for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.