ATHENS – In carefully-worded diplomatic language, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece will continue to deal coolly with Turkish provocations in the East Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
With Turkey planning to drill for energy off Greek islands, as it is doing off Cyprus, Mitsotakis said that Greece “will face all challenges with consistency, stability, confidence and always with a commitment to international law, as it always does.”
Speaking during a meeting with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, he said that Greece is not contributing to the tension with Turkey and expressed certainty that “we will have the full support of the European Union,” said Kathimerini.
Sakellaropoulou said that Turkey “continues to create tensions, challenging any notion of good-neighborliness and our sovereign rights.” She said Greece will always protect its sovereign rights “with respect for international law.”
Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos was more combative and said red lines have been marked and that Greece will not hesitate to “show its teeth” if pushed to a conflict point with Turkey also repeatedly sending fighter jets into Greek airspace.
Responding to a question in Parliament regarding Turkish provocations, Panagiotopoulos said Greece had demonstrated its determination during the “organized attempt to violate our borders in Evros,” referring to Turkish attempts earlier this year to push migrants across that river point crossing there.
“This is how we will react to any other issue,” the minister said, after Greece sent riot police and Army units to the border to repel any attempts at crossing by migrants who had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homeland and wanted to get into Greece to seek asylum after the European Union closed its borders to them.
“We have stated in a very clear and categorical fashion what our red lines are in the event that Turkey’s aggressive behavior escalates,” he also said.