ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, ahead of going to New York for the United Nations General Assembly opening, said that he won’t be lured into a conflict with Turkey over growing provocations.
Mitsotakis said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who – like the Greek leader – is facing a tough 2023 election campaign, is just ramping up trouble to score points with his zealous ultra-nationalist base.
“We choose not to bite,” Mitsotakis said during an interview with Sfera radio, in what is being seen as a message to Erdogan, who will also be there but said he is no longer speaking to the Greek leader for now.
“I will be very strict about the limits we set. Everyone knows that you cannot toy with Greece. On the other hand, we need to talk and settle our differences or to talk and agree to disagree without getting into a fight. Do we really need all this tension and poison every single day?” he said, reported ANA.
Turkey’s aggression, added Mitsotakis, “is certainly also a pre-election game,” with a survey in Greece finding that 63 percent of Turks don’t believe that Greece is a threat and that Erdogan is trying to create a distraction from economic woes.
“We are doomed to coexist, but there are more things uniting us than dividing us,” he said, after he previously said he would keep trying diplomacy with the increasingly belligerent Erdogan.
With reference to the need to support households and businesses due to the strong energy crisis, the prime minister essentially confirmed that the government is oriented towards a scaled subsidy for electricity, in order to provide incentives for energy saving, and a horizontal subsidy as far as natural gas is concerned. “The more you reduce consumption compared to last year’s bill, the higher the subsidy will be,” he said.
Regarding the housing plan, Mitsotakis said he is convinced that the programme will be successful and that he is open to committing more resources from the budget and expanding the programme announced.
Regarding the covid pandemic, the prime minister made it clear that there will be no new lockdown, while insisting that the pandemic, as we know it, is ending. He clarified that the most vulnerable should be careful, urging them to get vaccinnated, but also to wear a mask.