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Tsipras and Erdogan meet in Paris after refugee deal, Twitter spat

tsipras-and-erdogan-meet-in-paris-after-refugee-deal-twitter-spat

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of climate change talks in Paris Monday.

The meeting came a day after an agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis. In their brief encounter, the two leaders agreed that the result was positive, and to stay in close contact, according to an e-mailed statement from Tsipras’s office.

There was no reference to the Twitter dispute between Tsipras and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu a day earlier.

“To Prime Minister Davutoglu: Fortunately, our pilots are not as mercurial as yours against the Russians,” Tsipras said in a tweet on Sunday evening after attending an EU-Turkey summit that agreed on measures to help stem the refugee crisis. He later deleted the English original of the tweet but kept the Greek version.

In two more posts, Tsipras said that the situation is unacceptable in the Aegean sea, the conduit for most of the refugees traveling to Europe via Turkey, since both countries spend billions on the military. Turkey spends the money to “violate” Greece’s airspace, and Greece spends it to “intercept,” he said.

The remarks triggered a dismissive response in English from Davutoglu. “Comments on pilots by @atsipras seem hardly in tune with the spirit of the day. Alexis: let us focus on our positive agenda,” Turkey’s prime minister said on Twitter.

The exchange threatened to detract from the results of the summit of EU and Turkish leaders, who agreed on steps to curb the flow of migrants to Europe and counter terrorism, aided by a pledge to “re-energize” Turkey’s EU membership bid and a package of 3 billion euros in assistance for refugees in Turkey.

“We have the most modern weapon systems in the air, and down below we can’t spot the smugglers who drown innocent people,” Tsipras said in another tweet on Sunday elaborating on his comments about Turkey.

[Kathimerini & Bloomberg]