Mitsotakis Doesn’t See War with Belligerent Turkey Coming

September 12, 2022

THESSALONIKI – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis doesn’t see war clouds on the horizon with Turkey despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning his military could be ready to strike, Greece still trying to push failed diplomacy.

With tension at a near-conflict level after Erdogan said Greek missile defense systems locked on Turkish F-16 fighter jets – which Greece denied – Mitsotakis said he’s willing to meet with Erdogan, who isn’t talking to him.

After Mitsotakis, in an address to the United States Congress in May urged lawmakers to reject President Joe Biden’s plan to sell Turkey more F-16’s and upgrade the Turkish Air Force, Erdogan said the Greek leader “doesn’t exist” for him and broke off communications.

Since then, trouble has been brewing to the boiling point at times with Erdogan also demanding that Greece take troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, which would leave them open to invasion.

Speaking to reporters at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) Mitsotakis said he was open to talking to Erdogan and suggested Prague as a neutral spot for the sit-down, with no immediate reaction from Turkey.

Mitsotakis said he thinks Turkey is being viewed as more troublesome by the United States which is trying to keep a balancing act between the two countries without making any missteps.

When asked about the potential for a conflict he said that he can’t even imagine a military confrontation but said if it happens that Greece would deliver a punishing response, said Kathimerini.

He has moved to build Greece’s arsenal, including buying French-made Rafale fighter jets and warships and America warships and making a mutual defense deal with France.

Greece also is looking to acquire American more advanced F-35 fighter jets that were denied to Turkey when Erdogan authorized purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile systems that undermine NATO, to which all three countries belong, and could be used against Greece.

Asked by The Associated Press whether a recent escalation in rhetoric from Turkey, led by Erdogan, could be the prelude to an armed conflict, Mitsotakis replied negatively.

“I don’t believe this will ever happen. And if, God forbid, it happened, Turkey would receive an absolutely devastating response. And I think they know it very well. Turkey knows the competence of the Greek (armed) forces,” he also said.

Erdogan has accused Greece of occupying supposedly demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea and has threatened that Turkey would take action.

Mitsotakis added that, despite Erdogan’s “unacceptable” comments, he was still open to dialogue and a meeting with him.


(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)


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