Germany Denies Turkish Pressure Barred Greece from Libya Meeting

FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, take part in a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

A report in the German newspaper Bild that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made Chancellor Angela Merkel keep Greece out of a key meeting about Libyan peace prospects was meekly denied by her government.

The Jan. 19 meeting is being held without Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said he would swiftly veto any agreement that doesn’t reject a deal Turkey made with the United Nations-recognized government in Libya to divide the seas between them, including claiming waters near Greek islands, with Turkey wanting to drill for energy off Crete.

Asked whether Turkey drew up the list of countries it would allow to take part, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said “no,” adding that it was drawn up by Germany and the UN after numerous meetings of the Berlin Initiative.

Despite the volatile ramifications of the Turkey-Libya deal that was made as tensions were rising with Greece, bringing fears of a conflict that could rip the region, he said that agreement – which Greece said violates international law – isn’t even on the agenda.

Mitsotakis talked on the phone with Merkel to express his unhappiness he wasn’t being allowed to sit at the table with Erdogan, said Kathimerini, even though the Greek and German leaders have similar center-right philosophies.

He also said he had sent letters of complaint and outlining Greece’s positions to other EU heads of state, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as he was mocked by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA for being kept out of the crucial talks.

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