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Politics

Mitsotakis : Greece Will Not Enter a Tit-for-Tat Exchange with Turkey

BRUSSELS – Greece will never resort to raising tension with regard to Turkey, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday, following the conclusion of the extraordinary two-day EU Summit.

At a press conference, the Greek PM said Greece is “confident we have the right on our side and strong allies,” and refuted “a logic of tit-for-tat exchanges with the Turkish president, which would be easy to do but I will not do.” Referring to the letter Greece sent to the United Nations in response to Turkish complaints, he underlined that “it is unfortunate that Turkey has lost another opportunity to improve its relations with Greece.” Turkish fighter jet flights over Greek islands “is entirely uncalled for”, he added, noting that Turkey must understand Greece will use its alliances in the European Union, the United States and elsewhere to defend its national interests. He had informed his EU colleagues, he said of a rise in Turkish provocations and called for a discussion, if Turkey continues its behavior, at the regular EU Summit in June.

Asked about the European Union’s decision on the 6th package of sanctions against Russia, he called it “a success” because it took into account the geographical sensitivities of some EU member stastes. “The result is that 90% of the Russian oil coming toward Europe will stop coming, and this will deprive Russia of significant resources to continue the war in Ukraine,” Mitsotakis said. Greece can act as a hub for the transfer of energy, contributing to the independence even of Greece’s neighbors from Russian energy.

Energy prices

Responding to another question, the Greek leader asserted that “it is not a foregone conclusion that the embargo will lead to a rise in fuel prices. Europe is obligated to use all available tools, and although we know that every sanctions package carries a cost, it will be lower for us than for Russia.”

He also called the linking of electricity prices with those of natural gas “a structural problem in calculating electricity prices,” and said the European Commission will examine how to decouple the two. “In any case,” he noted, “Greece does not intend to wait for the EU to provide support: the national support plan will kick into effect next month, while I should remind you that last week the Greek Parliament voted to tax at excess 90% of the excess profits of electric power providers,” he underlined. Natural gas pricing was complicated but there was pressure by EU countries for interventions “to stop paying irrational price hikes.” He noted again that it was necessary for the EU to intervene, “but the immediate relief will come from the national support plan.”

In other comments, Mitsotakis said that the EU Summit discussed the issue of the 20 million tons of grains blocked in Ukraine, and expressed support for the proposal of the United Nations’ secretary general to seek a solution involving Russia, in order to open up a maritime humanitarian corridor. “Greek shipping could play a pivotal role,” the Greek PM noted.

Asked to comment on assertions by main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras that the government will hold snap elections in 2022, Mitsotakis reiterated this will happen at the end of the government’s four-year term.

Read more: Greece, Germany Partner on Ukraine Weapons

Read more: Mitsotakis Briefs Scholz on Turkish Provocations

Read more: Dendias: Turkey’s Recent Stance Affirms Greece’s Concerns

Read more: Oikonomou: Cavusoglu’s Statements Are “Unacceptable”

(ANA-MPA/S. Mourelatos)

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