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Politics

Mitsotakis Says Turkey Can’t Provoke, Retreat from Seas Dispute

ATHENS – After both sides agreed to talk and roll back the tension level, Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Turkey has to stay the course in and not cause any more provocation nor send any mixed signals.

Speaking as he arrived at a meeting of the European Council in Brussels, he said he way to improve European Union-Turkish relations must be done in a “gradual and reversible way in case Turkey returns to a provocative stance” wary about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mitsotakis said Greece supports Erdogan's demand for more money from the EU to contain some 4.4 million refugees and migrants and not send them to the bloc through Greece and its islands, Greece's state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) said.

But that's based on conditions that  Turkey avoids “any instrumentalization of refugees and immigrants” and “accepts the return to Turkey of people who are currently on the Greek islands and the asylum applications have been finally rejected,” which hasn't happened.

Another thorny issue – Cyprus reunification – is a dilemma that still has to be worked out he said although it has failed a long line of diplomats, politicians, presidents and prime ministers for more than four decades.

“The only solution to the Cyprus problem can be found in the framework of the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality,” he said. Erdogan rejects that, demanding two states and recognition for the northern third of the island occupied since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion caused the split.

“Any discussion of a solution regarding the creation of two separate states is rejected in principle because it contradicts all the decisions of the UN Security Council but also the European acquis,” said Mitsotakis.

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