Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he has “always encouraged” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the delimitation of maritime zones between the two countries, which is the only issue Athens recognizes as open to negotiations.
“I’ve always extended the hand of friendship to Turkey. And I’ve always encouraged President Erdogan to sit down and discuss the main difference that we have, which is the delimitation of our maritime zones,” he told in an interview with Monocle magazine.
“The story goes back decades but we can resolve it. If we can’t, we can take it to the International Court. That’s why international courts exist,” he added, referring to a Greek proposal for the two countries to seek mediation at the Court in The Hague if the issue cannot be settled through diplomacy.
Mitsotakis also reiterated that bilateral differences also affect Turkey’s relationship with Europe. “That is why, I think, Europe has taken the decision to impose additional measures on Turkey, regarding its illegal drilling and its illegal hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
“And there is a general sense that Turkey is behaving in a manner that is not conducive towards promoting peace and friendship in the region.”
Mitsotakis also referred to the opportunities arising with the 32 billion euros in aid that Greece is expecting from the EU National Recovery and Sustainability Plan, noting that the government wants to use it for “transformative projects.”
“The pandemic has offered us an additional tool that we did not have at our disposal: money,” he said. “We want to focus on high-end manufacturing; this is not just a country that can offer exceptional services. This is a beautiful country and coronavirus has demonstrated that you can work from anywhere.”