Greek PM Mitsotakis emphasized at the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday that “Greece will not be bullied!”
In his speech, the Greek PM slammed Turkish claims over the sovereignty of Greece’s islands and called them “baseless and unacceptable.” In addition, he warned that the Turkish claims cross all red lines for all Greeks.
If President Erdogan wants to talk about red lines, then I say this: Turkish claims over the sovereignty of Greece’s islands are baseless and unacceptable. Questioning the sovereignty of Greek territory crosses a red line for all Greeks. #UNGA
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) September 23, 2022
The Greek PM stressed that “what is particularly alarming is the growing intensity of the threat. It is characterized by an escalation in aggressive rhetoric combined with a massive disinformation campaign, multiple violations of Greece’s sovereignty and sovereign rights at sea and in the air, the instrumentalization of migration flows, and unfortunately, a unilateral decision to refuse all high-level contacts.”
Mitsotakis highlighted that it is exactly these actions which undermine peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean “at a time when the international community is faced with a war in Ukraine.”
Mitsotakis to UN: Turkey’s language is that of an aggressor
Mitsotakis continued criticizing Turkish leadership as bearing an increasingly bellicose language: “They threaten that Turkiye will come at night, if it so decides. This is the language of an aggressor, not a peacemaker. Sadly, it is nothing new.”
The Greek PM also accused Turkey of “incrementally building a comprehensive narrative of false claims in the Aegean that stretches from the Imia islet crisis in the mid-1990s to the present day.”
This rhetoric has been threatening towards Greece and points to a casus belli should Greece choose to exercise its sovereign right to expand its territorial waters in the Aegean. Mitsotakis recalled Turkey’s preposterous challenge of Greek sovereignty over the Eastern Aegean islands, including Chios and Rhodes, a sovereignty which was established by international treaties one hundred years ago.
Greece poses no threat to the people of Turkey
Greek PM reminded the General Assembly of a time when Greece and Turkey paved the way towards a peaceful coexistence.
“There is another path forward,” he said. “Greek people and Turkish people have a long history [of] peaceful coexistence. Eight years after the tragic events of 1922, Greek and Turkish leaders had the courage to sign a Peace and Friendship Agreement.”
Mitsotakis highlighted cooperation and friendship as the only way to move forward and let the people of Turkey know that Greece poses no threat to their country.
“Greece poses no threat to your country,” he said. “We are not your enemies. We are neighbors. We value the many friendships between ordinary Greeks and Turks.”
He added that he is aware “that the vast majority in [the] two countries do to want political conflict and hostility” and asked that everyone “move forward in a spirit of cooperation and friendship with mutual respect and in accordance with International Law.”