ATHENS — After his call for the European Union to issue tough sanctions against Turkish provocations was ignored, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis again turned to the idea of involving the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
The New Democracy leader said there should be talks with Turkey, which pulled back from sending an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands as conflict loomed, exploratory discussions underway for a meeting in Ankara.
Mitsotakis said he wants to resolve disputes over the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean but if the talks fail then the question should be sent to the ICJ to mediate, said Kathimerini.
“I have been very honest with Turkey and the international community, saying that if we cannot reach an agreement, let us go to the Hague Tribunal,” he told Nicholas Burns, Harvard Professor and Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group – and former US Ambassador to Greece and NATO – during a digital conference.
Mitsotakis said the two sides should agree that the maritime zones is the only issue between Greece and Turkey, set the parameters and respect the decision of the Court, although Turkey has been wary.
“I believe that this is a fair approach to the extent that we cannot – if we cannot – resolve our dispute directly between us,” he added. Asked by Burns how Greece handles its relationship with Turkey, Mitsotakis said he wants to “restart” it.
Turkey signed a deal with Libya dividing the seas between them and claiming Greek waters and parts of the Continental Shelf while the United States generally backed Greece but said the seas in question were “disputed,” rankling Greece.
Mitsotakis noted tension over other issues between the countries, including Turkey converting the ancient Orthodox church of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople into a mosque as well as Turkish drilling off Cypriot waters where the European Union has issued only soft sanctions and tweeted support for Greece.
“We don’t want to isolate Turkey. I want to engage with Turks when it comes to migration… but we cannot work under the constant threat that they will open the flood gates to put pressure on us,” he said.