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Mitsotakis: Turkish aggression of concern to EU, US

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Greek and Cypriot disagreement with Turkey over maritime zone delimitation is not a bilateral or trilateral issue but a European one, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said, stressing that a challenge to Greek sovereignty would be tantamount to an attack on the European Union.

“This is not just the difference between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus; it’s the difference between Turkey and Europe because strategic European interests are at stake,” Mitsotakis said Thursday in an interview with analyst Ian Bremmer over his weekly digital and broadcast show, GZERO World.

“It’s also a topic that should really concern the US because the US… has expressed a renewed interest in the Eastern Mediterranean. It doesn’t want destabilizing forces in this part of the world,” Mitsotakis said. 

Mitsotakis said he wished Greece could have a very constructive relationship with Turkey not only as a neighbor, but also as a member of the European Union. However, he blamed Turkey over an escalation of tensions over the summer.

“I think the Europeans understand the situation much better than they did maybe six months ago,” the Greek premier said, adding that Turkish aggression is an “issue of principles” for Europe. “If the sovereign rights of a member state are attacked, it’s an attack on the European Union,” he said.

“But it’s also a question of hard geopolitical power. If we argue that this is an area of critical interest for Europe, and if we don’t just want to be a soft economic power, if we want to exercise more geopolitical influence, we should use the levers of our power,” Mitsotakis said.