Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is in favor of maintaining open lines of communication with Ankara even though “Turkey’s recent decisions… have been particularly provocative for Greece” and urged the neighboring country to “de-escalate” the situation on the Greek-Turkish border.
“The events of the past 10 days have made relations between the two countries even harder. This is why it is essential that Turkey makes some move of de-escalation,” Mitsotakis told the German Council on Foreign Relations during a visit to Berlin on Monday, referring to mounting tensions on the Greek-Turkish border following Ankara’s recent decision to encourage tens of thousands of migrants to push through the Greek frontier into the European Union.
The move poses an “asymmetric threat” to Greece, Mitsotakis said, adding that “many of the people on the border had orders or were forced to go there.”
“We have spent many sleepless nights” since the influx began on February 28, the Greek premier said.
“We are doomed to live together, but not in conditions of blackmail as Turkey is trying to impose on Greece and the European Union. We are never the ones to provoke, but we will respond forcefully to any challenge,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek premier also dismissed claims by high-ranking Turkish officials of excessive use of force from Greek security forces at the land border in northeastern Evros as a deliberate attempt by Ankara to disseminate “fake news.”
“As prime minister of Greece, I will not take human rights lessons from Turkey,” he said.