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Politics

Mitsotakis Gives Testy Erdogan Earful Back at EU Prague Dinner

PRAGUE – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wasn’t taking any guff from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attack on Greece during a dinner of European Union leaders at Prague, firing right back at him.

While Turkey isn’t in the EU – its bid has been faltering for 17 years and getting worse under Erdogan’s autocratic rule – the Turkish leader, who said he won’t talk directly to Mitsotakis, to jump at the chance to attack.

Media reports said that Erdogan, who continues to send F-16 fighter jets into Greek airspace and is challenging sovereignty of the seas, blamed Greece for provocations that have raised tensions almost to conflict level.

Edogan said that Greece understands the message that Turkey has sent that “we may come suddenly overnight” – seen as a threat to invade – and then he said there’s nothing else to talk about.

Erdogan took the floor at the leaders’ dinner and at the end of his speech, unprovoked, he accused Greece of being the troublemaker in the Aegean and East Mediterranean but Mitsotakis didn’t take it.

He rose and challenged Erdogan, reports said, telling him to stop questioning Greek sovereignty and to try talking instead of using provocative and belligerent language, urging diplomacy.

That came against the backdrop of Turkey signing an unlawful deal with Libya to divide the seas between them and cut off Greece, which the EU denounced to Erdogan’s displeasure.

It was said that Erdogan was treated coolly at the meeting and dinner after he had earlier continued to assail the EU for siding with Greece instead of supporting Turkey’s claims.

He reportedly said he expects the EU to invite “our interlocutors to dialogue on a bilateral basis instead of supporting illegal initiatives in the name of solidarity in the Union,” which Turkey can’t get into.

Despite Turkey displaying maps claiming Greek territory, he reportedly said that, “We are only fighting to protect the interests of our country and the Turkish-Cypriots” referring to the island where Turkey invaded in 1974 and has the northern third occupied.

Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah, which is a mouthpiece for him, said that at the meeting he told the EU leaders that Greece’s policies are all based on “lies.”

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