Erdogan Will Air Turkey’s Grievances in Mitsotakis Istanbul Sit-Down

ΑΤΗΕΝS – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a laundry list of complaints against Greece he will show Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis when they sit down for a meeting March 13 in Istanbul.

The spokesperson of Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Omer Celik said it will include demands Greece take troops off islands near Turkey’s coast, further dispute the sovereignty of Greek waters and Turkish claims on large swathes of properties under Turkey’s Blue Homeland doctrine.

Also on the table, said Kathimerini, is Turkey’s insistance that the United Nations and world accept the occupied northern third of Cyprus that was invaded in 1974 and giving up any idea of reunification of the island.

“There are many issues that we cannot agree on with Greece. Lately we have seen Greece turning problems that can be solved between ourselves to issues between Turkey and the European Union. Greece must understand that we are her neighbors, we live together. We can solve our own issues. Turkey’s consideration of the Blue Homeland cannot be doubted nor questioned,” said Celik.

He added that, “Greece must approach the issue with respect to Turkey’s sovereignty. An approach that is a far cry from doubting the rights of the Blue Homeland,” indicating that it will be Erdogan’s way or no way.

In essence, Erdogan appears to be setting an agenda in which Turkey will prevail on every issue and control of lands, seas, and skies that are in Greece’s domain, which could turn the talk into going nowhere fast for Mitsotakis.

“There are mechanisms that work, but there are clearly issues we disagree on. We do not have to hide this from anyone. By extent, this meeting will address all these issues extensively,” said Celik, with Turkey wanting to set the terms.

Government spokesperson Yiannis Oikonomou on Tuesday also confirmed that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday, March 13. Mitsotakis will also celebrate the Feast of Orthodoxy with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul the same day. The premier was invited to a dinner by the Turkish president, which he accepted.

“Both countries are facing common challenges. The prime minister will go to the meeting with positive attitude and without illusions or divergences from the known positions, which are based on international law,” Oikonomou stated.

Greece’s major opposition SYRIZA said that there was still a chance for diplomacy even though Erdogan has gone back and forth between offering deliberations and saying it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its seas sovereignty from 6 to 12 miles, which would block in Turkey in the Aegean.

“The meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the Turkish president, especially at a time of global instability, is called for,” SYRIZA said in a statement, without knowing Turkey’s terms.

“Let’s hope that it will serve as an opportunity for substantial dialogue with clear red lines and with the immediate aim of reducing tension and the more far-reaching aim of taking recourse to The Hague over the EEZ and Continental Shelf,” it said, wanting Mitsotakis to hang tough with Erdogan.


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