ΑΤΗΕΝS – While he promised to take Greece out of NATO – but didn’t during his 4 ½ years as Prime Minister – the now major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said the defense alliance has to show support against what he said were Turkey’s expansionist ambitions.
As Erdogan was at a NATO meeting in Madrid, where he withdrew his threat t veto the entry of Sweden and Finland, there was no talk there of Turkey continuing to send fighter jets into Greek airspace.
Greece and Turkey belong to the alliance but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has refused to intervene over the airspace violations and even tilted toward Turkey in giving support to Erdogan.
The Turkish leader also said he plans to again send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands to hunt for oil and gas and demanded that Greece take troops off islands near Turkey’s coast.
He said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles that could cut off Turkey’s coast, the Turkish leader also coveting return of Greek islands ceded away in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
He doesn’t accept that agreement unless inciting to Turkey’s advantage, as he did in the demand for demilitarization of Greek islands, that would leave them open a takeover if there’s a conflict.
Speaking in Parliament, Tspiras said his party has “grave” concern that Turkey “is rapidly upgrading its role and status in international developments following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, while also sharpening its aggressive rhetoric and its publicly expressed revisionist ambitions in the Aegean,” said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.
It wasn’t said if he mentioned that SYRIZA, whose membership includes those with Communist backgrounds, didn’t want Greece sending more weapons to Ukraine to defend itself.
He said that instead of confronting Turkey – which Tsipras didn’t do either while ruling – that Mitsotakis is concentrating on an economic pickup during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Premier is “making (Greek) foreign policy fully subservient to the propaganda of an electoral campaign” ahead of general elections at the end of his term in 2023, an attitude Tsipras said makes Turkey more belligerent.