Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday sent an indirect message to Turkey saying that either the two countries will come to an agreement on territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, or he will take the issue to the International Court of Justice.
Mitsotakis made the remarks during a conference called “2020 Aspen Security Forum,” where he exchanged views with Harvard professor and Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group Nicholas Burns, who served as U.S. ambassador to Greece from 1997-2001.
The Greek prime minister highlighted Turkey’s repeated aggressive moves towards Greece and Turkey in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
He spoke at length about the tensions caused by Ankara by its actions against Greece and Cyprus, including the illegal Turkish-Libyan pact that arbitrarily delineates territorial waters in the Mediterranean, overflights of Turkish jets on Greek islands, and illegal incursions into the Cypriot EEZ in the search for oil and gas.
PM Mitsotakis also discusses Turkey’s encouraging migrants to force their way over the Greek border at Evros, as well as the recent NAVTEX for exploration atop the Greek continental shelf and the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
The Greek leader also asked for the EU to take action against Turkey’s repeated provocations and illegal acts and impose sanctions if the neighboring country continues its aggressive policies. He also called on NATO to take a stance against Turkish aggression, reminding listeners at the conference about Ankara’s purchase last year of the S400 missile system from Russia.
The Prime Minister said that Greece is willing to come to an agreement on the Aegean issues with Turkey, but not as a result of threats from Ankara. If the two countries still cannot come to an agreement on their exclusive economic zones and continental shelves, the issue will then be taken to the International Court of Justice.
In a related development on Thursday, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a regular press conference that Greece is ready to restart the exploratory talks with Turkey which froze in 2016 in August if the neighboring country deescalates tensions.
“We are ready to start exploratory contacts. The head of the team has been selected, Mr. Apostolidis, who has played this role successfully in the past; and we expect Turkey, if it means what it says, to continue the exploratory contacts even in August,” Petsas stated.