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Greek PM Mitsotakis: ‘We Will Not Go to War With Turkey’

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Mitsotakis speaking to CNN journalist, Fareed Zakaria, at an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Credit: AMNA

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated on Thursday that Greece and Turkey will not go to war and that the two countries can make efforts to reduce tensions in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

“We will not go to war with Turkey,” Mitsotakis told CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria at an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He emphasized that “we should be able to sit down with Turkey as reasonable adults and discuss the issue of the continental shelf and sea zones in the Aegean. We did it successfully with Italy and Egypt, [and] with Albania,” he said.

“We will refer the issue to The Hague and it will decide,” he added.

Mitsotakis said that solutions can be found “as long as we agree on the rules, which is international law, to solve problems and [that] you don’t unnecessarily provoke your neighbors.”

Mitsotakis: Greece and Turkey can reduce tensions after the elections

He expressed optimism that after the elections in Greece and Turkey, which as he said will be held almost simultaneously, Athens and Ankara will be able to resolve their differences by keeping open the channels of communication and avoiding the instrumentalization of foreign policy for internal reasons.

“There are ways to lower tensions, to agree that we disagree, but in a civilized way,” he concluded. “We don’t need to threaten each other or have overflights.”

Mitsotakis stressed, however, that Greece has a “difficult neighbor” and explained why Greece invested in modernizing its armed forces. “Does anyone really believe that the Greek islands are a threat to the Turkish mainland or rather the Turkish mainland threatens the Greek islands?” he pondered.

In response to a question about the date of the elections, the Greek Prime Minister said, “I will go to elections sometime in the spring.”

Referring to the dilemma of the elections, he noted that “the Greeks will compare four years of a populist government and four years of our own government.”

The old Left-Right dilemmas are no longer relevant, he said and added that “the new divide is between populists and pragmatic progressive democrats.”

“The last three and a half years have been very difficult, very painful,” he maintained. “An example is the coronavirus, but when you look back and when you appeal to the citizens to be re-elected, you say you did your best, admit your mistakes and sleep well at night.”

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