Turkey says Greek president’s comments ‘not befitting his position’


Ankara has responded to comments made by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday during a ceremony naming him an honorary resident of the Municipality of Pydna-Kolindros in Pieria, northern Greece, saying they were “not befitting his position.”

In a call on Turkey to respect its international commitments, Pavlopoulos had said that “Greece may not have the territory that we would be entitled to historically, but… [it] has a voice and standing in the European Union.”

Greece, the president said, wants to have “good neighborly relations” with Turkey and supports the country’s European ambitions in so far as Ankara exhibits “full respect for the totality of international and European law… and particularly the Treaty of Lausanne and the Law of the Sea.”

Pavlopoulos was referring to recent calls by Ankara for an “update” of the treaty delineating the borders between Greece and Turkey but also efforts to prevent hydrocarbon exploration in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.

“We do not want to, but if history compels us, we will act as our ancestors did,” Pavlopoulos added

“We invite President Pavlopoulos to refrain from a rhetoric which is not befitting his position, and that could cause unnecessary tension,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hami Aksoy said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also called on Greek authorities to take action against far-right protesters who on Monday burned a Turkish flag in a rally organized by Golden Dawn in Athens calling for the release of two soldiers who were arrested last week after accidentally crossing Greece’s border with Turkey while on patrol in northeastern Evros.

“We demand that the Greek authorities arrest the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against our flag, and bring them to justice as soon as possible,” the ministry said.