Greece said on Tuesday it does not intend to be dragged into an escalation with Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he does not want to meet the Greek prime minister ever again.
Speaking to Skai Radio Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias said Athens would not be drawn into escalation. “We have our own position. We won’t be drawn into an escalation…If we do it will be because the Greek government has decided to do so.”
Dendias said that Greece wants dialogue with Turkey, however, adding that this is not possible when Turkish fighter jets are conducting overflights over Greek airspace.
Erdogan said on Monday he has no intention of ever meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis again, following the latter’s criticism of Turkey during his recent visit to the United States.
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.
Erdogan says Greece’s Mitsotakis “no longer exists for me”
In response to these comments, Erdogan stated that Mitsotakis spoke out against Turkey and no longer existed to him.
“He no longer exists for me. I will never agree to meet with him. We will continue forward with honorable politicians,” he stated.
Erdogan also accused Greece, a NATO ally, of harboring “terrorists” and said that allowing Athens’ readmission to the security bloc in 1980 had been a mistake.
“How is Greece treating us at the moment? Is not Greece a destination for the FETO organization at the moment?” Erdogan asked, referring to the Gülen movement, an organization that Turkey defines as terrorist.
“There are currently 10 bases in Greece. Why are these bases being created in Greece? Against whom? At the moment Greece owes €400 billion to European countries,” he continued.
“Let Mitsotakis think about the future. We are self-sufficient. We are facing a Greece that proposes to the US ‘not to give F-16s to Turkey’. From that point, there was no Mitsotakis for me. The United States will probably not act in accordance with the words of Greece,” he said.
Mitsotakis and Erdogan met in April in Istanbul where they agreed to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The goal of both leaders is to provide stability in the region at this time.