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Politics

Greek, Turkish Foreign Chiefs in Twitter War of Pot Shots

December 22, 2020

ATHENS – In a kind of political version of guys ranking each other – but with a special sting – the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey are firing tweet shots at each other over who has rights to the seas in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu fired first after Greece was reaching out to build an international alliance against Turkish aggressions, as he urged that to stop and mocked the plea to other countries.

Greek foreign chief Nikos Dendias had complained that the European Union should have sanctioned Turkey for continuing its plans to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands, leading Cavusoglu to tweet tweak him.

“Dear Niko, here’s some friendly advice for the new year – stop asking for help from others and injuring the Greek people’s dignity,” Cavusoglu wrote. He added: “May 2021 be the year when we settle our differences equitably by talking directly, sincerely, and earnestly.”

With social media the new battleground, Dendias fired back. “By the way. There is one thing Mevlut you forgot to mention yet again: it’s International Law. The only basis for a constructive dialogue about our difference, my dear friend. Happy 2021!,”

Greece was caught in a trap of its own making when Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in October pulled back his demand for sanctions when Turkey temporarily withdrew an energy research vessel and warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

That was, he said, to give diplomacy a chance as the EU was set to consider penalties but that was withheld to let Greece and Turkey talk – which didn’t happen – and saw Turkey send the ships back in again.

Days before the EU was to deliberate again in a Dec. 10-11 meeting, Erdogan took the ships back out again and when Mitsotakis renewed his call for sanctions they were blocked.

That was led by Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, and a major arms supplier to Turkey, preferring that trade over supporting fellow EU member Greece in the showdown still going on.

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