PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron, who signed a mutual defense deal and is selling fighter jets and warships to Greece, denounced Turkish officials questioning the sovereignty of some islands near Turkey’s coast.
Speaking as he left a European Council meeting in Brussels, Macron said he wished “to express the support of all Europeans, and especially of France” for Greece, adding that “no one can endanger the sovereignty of some member states today.”
He added: “I believe that these statements must be condemned as soon as possible, something I have just done,” reported Kathimerini, likely to further irk Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish leader earlier said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ seeking foreign allies against Turkish provocations was fruitless even as Erdogan covets the return of some Greek islands ceded away under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he doesn’t recognize.
Macron said during the EU leaders’ meeting where Germany said it would not condemn Turkey that Mitsotakis had “expressed very strongly the legitimate concern of Greece and condemned the statements of many Turkish officials questioning Greek sovereignty over many of its islands.”
That came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu again demanded that Greece take troops off some Aegean islands under the treaty and said that otherwise Turkey might take steps, suggesting military action.
Greece’s New Democracy government, the paper said, views those volatile comments are trying to bait Mitsotakis and said he wouldn’t fall into a trap even as he said he wants to keep trying failed diplomacy after Erdogan said he will no longer speak with him for now.