On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “no longer exists” to him after his visit to the US.
While in the US, Mitsotakis criticized Turkey, although not explicitly, and appealed to lawmakers to bar Turkey from purchasing fighter jets during his historic address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, the first ever by a Greek leader.
Without mentioning Turkey, Mitsotakis highlighted the security challenges facing Greece, including overflights over its territory.
In response to these comments, Erdogan stated that Mitsotakis spoke out against Turkey and no longer existed to him.
“He longer exists for me. I will never agree to meet with him. We will continue forward with honorable politicians,” he stated.
Erdogan and Mitsotakis met in Turkey in March
In March, the pair met in Turkey and had a productive discussion that seemed to indicate a more peaceful period in relations between the neighboring countries, but the relationship is mercurial.
During his address, Mitsotakis stated that allowing Turkey to purchase fighter jets could lead to instability in the region.
Mitsotakis has joined only eight other world leaders who have addressed a joint session of Congress since 2015. They include Pope Francis, the Prime Ministers of India, Japan, and Israel, and the Presidents of Afghanistan, France, and Ukraine, as well as the NATO Secretary-General.
Tensions have been rising between the two countries recently, particularly after two Turkish fighter jets violated Greek airspace last week. Greece strongly condemned the overflight of two Turkish fighter jets near Alexandroupoli, calling the incident an “unprecedented violation of national sovereignty.”
The jets flew into Greek airspace within 2.5 nautical miles of the northeastern city.
“This action is a very clear escalation of Turkish provocation,” the ministry said in a statement.