Tsipras sends firm message to Ankara during annual ceremony


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday sought to send a message of unity during the annual Blessing of the Waters ceremony while sending a clear message to Ankara that Greece remains determined to protect its borders.

In a speech in Alexandroupolis, Tsipras said he extended a message of "friendship toward all peoples," noting that Greece is a "beacon" of values and a hub of stability in the region.

"We extend a hand of cooperation and at the same time declare our determination to defend our sovereign rights as those are enshrined in international treaties and international law," Tsipras said.

His words come as relations between Athens and Ankara have been strained by the case of eight Turkish military officials who fled to Greece in July following a failed coup in Turkey and whose extradition Ankara is demanding.

Recent weeks have also seen a spike in air space violations by Turkish jets in the Aegean.