Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean “can no longer be tolerated,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said before the start of a European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday, while urging member states to decide “the kind of relationship” they want with Turkey.
“The time has come for Europe to hold a courageous and frank debate about the kind of relationship it wants to maintain with Turkey,” Mitsotakis told journalists.
“One thing is certain: Turkish provocations, whether they are manifested through unilateral actions or through excessive rhetoric, they can no longer be tolerated,” he said.
“This is not just because Turkey’s behavior violates the sovereign rights of two member countries of the European Union, namely Greece and Cyprus, but because this behavior of Turkey impinges upon key European geopolitical interests in the Mediterranean,| he said.
The Greek premier said the EU was faced with two possible options: “One is the path of dialogue, of diplomacy – a dialogue that must be based on respect for international law, on refraining from unilateral actions and on the rules of good neighborly relations,” he said.
“The alternative path is that of escalating tension, which will inevitably, sooner or later, make Europe take measures against Turkey,” Mitsotakis said.
“Greece has made clear it wants to follow the former path. It is up to Turkey to do the same, but it will have to do so in a consistent and stable manner,” he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “committed to finding a peaceful solution to the tensions,” while French President Emmanuel Macron said EU solidarity with Cyprus was “non-negotiable.”
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to all EU leaders except Greece and Cyprus, lobbying for the bloc to treat Ankara fairly and blaming Athens and Nicosia for the tensions in the Mediterranean.