Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday that Turkey was up against “not just Greece but all of Europe and our allies in NATO.”
In speaking at a cabinet meeting, Mitsotakis repeated that Greece will remain calm and confident in positions backed by international law and not follow down the path chosen by Turkey.
He added that Greece had clearly said all it has to say at the UN, both as regards its “red lines” and its friendly intentions toward the Turkish people.
“The other side [Turkey] can monotonously repeat its lies and threats,” he added. “It will remain alone in this game. We will calmly and self-confidently rest in our clear positions with the strength of international law, the vigilance of our armed forces, the support of our allies.”
Instead of “fiery words,” he urged the other side to opt for “creative actions and the path of substantive dialogue,” saying that they had not just Greece against them but “all of Europe and our allies in NATO.”
EU in solidarity with Greece calls on Turkey to respect Greek sovereignty
A very important expectation of the European Union is that Turkey respect the sovereignty of EU member-states and engage in solving all open issues in a spirit of good neighborly relations with respect for international law, European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano stressed on Tuesday.
Stano said that on the issue of Turkish actions and rhetoric in general, “I can only reiterate the solidarity of the EU with Greece.”
“Greece is a member-state of the EU and the EU and its member-states have formulated very clearly a number of European Council conclusions, its expectations of Turkey to de-escalate, to be engaged in constructive de-escalation in order to advance the mutually beneficial constructive cooperation not only with Greece but with the EU as a whole,” Stano maintained.
“We expect that Turkey would cease [with] threatening rhetoric and steps that are not really conducive for de-escalation,” he added.
“And what is very important and a very important expectation of the EU and its member-states is that Turkey respect the sovereignty of member-states of the EU and that Turkey engage in solving all the open issues in the spirit of good neighborly relations with full respect for the international law,” Stano said.
Turkey hits back at Greece
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan snapped back at Mitsotakis accusing Greece of a military buildup.
Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the capital of Ankara, Erdogan said, “The weapons piled up in Western Thrace and on the islands make no sense to us because our power is far beyond them, but we remind you that this means a covert occupation.”
On Monday, Turkey lodged a protest with the United States and Greece over what it claims to be the “unlawful deployment” of armored vehicles on Aegean “islands with non-military status.”
Erdogan also slammed Greece over its latest “provocations,” saying Ankara will not fail to defend its rights and interests.
“The occupation-looking military buildups of foreign countries all over Greece should, in essence, disturb Greek people, not us,” Erdogan said after the Cabinet meeting in Ankara.
The President said Turkey is following Greece’s policies “filled with provocation.”
“We are well aware of the real intentions of those who provoked and unleashed Greek politicians against us to hinder our program of building up a great and powerful Turkey,” he said.
“However, this is a dangerous game for the Greek politicians, the Greek state, the Greek people and those who use them as puppets,” he stressed.
Greece will be held accountable for people it left to die in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean, Erdogan said, according to the Turkish daily Sabah.