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Politics

EU Adviser Tells Greece, Turkey to Stop “Macho Politics” in East Med

September 4, 2020

A special adviser to European Union foreign chief Josep Borrell has jumped into the fray between Greece and Turkey's battle over who owns waters in the East Mediterranean, telling them to tone down the tough guy talk and stop using “macho politics.”

Nathalie Tocci, who is also Director of Italy’s International Foreign Affairs Institute, tweeted that remark, leading EU spokesman Peter Stano to quickly distance the bloc from her advice, saying she is “not a policymaker of the EU.”

 “The East-Med situation isn’t new. It’s an old conflict about sovereignty & security between Greece, Turkey & Cyprus. It can be resolved only if G & T set aside macho politics & rediscover earthquake diplomacy spirit of 99,” she said.

That set off the usual furor on social media that quickly responds to even the lightest tremor or mildly provocative statement in a polarized world of instant responses and ripostes.

Turkey has sent an energy research vessel and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo where it plans to hunt for oil and gas, leading Greece to send its Navy and set up a cautious standoff in the East Mediterranean.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the German newspaper Die Welt said, wanted to sink a Greek ship or shoot down a fighter jet without killing anyone to boost his popularity at home but officers refused, the paper said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants tough EU sanctions on Turkey which the bloc said could be imposed unless Turkey pulls back or reaches an agreement with Greece ahead of a Sept. 24-25 EU-Turkey summit meeting.

Mitsotakis on Sept. 4 held talks with China’s foreign policy chief, Yang Jiechi, in a meeting in Athens that centered mainly on recent Turkish provocations in the seas, said Kathimerini.

“From all the many over-the-top statements that Mr. Erdogan has made, there is only one I retain, the one about dialogue, and I respond with these six clear words: stops the provocations, start the talks,” Mitsotakis told Jiechi.

Mitsotakis also told Jiechi that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who was headed to New York, will be meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and delivering a letter outlining Turkey’s violations in the area.

The UN has shown no interest on getting involved in the brouhaha between the countries, nor has NATO, the defense alliance to which both countries belong, until Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tried to arrange talks, said in limbo.

Mitsotakis told Jiechi that Turkey's activities violate “every rule of the United Nations Charter, with a rhetoric that distorts history and adulterates geography”as well as threaten security and endanger trade and energy routes across the entire Mediterranean.

“Turkey illegal activities demand an international reaction,” Mitsotakis said, but he hasn't gotten one apart from building energy partnerships with France, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. The UN said nothing.

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