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Politics

Mitsotakis Tells Turkey to Back Off Threats, Lay Off Cyprus Too

December 16, 2021

ΑΤΗΕΝS – He’s back on speaking terms with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but now Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ words aren’t so warm, snapping that Turkey should stop provocations and threats around plans to hunt for energy off Greek islands – and Cyprus.

The Greek leader told the German newspaper Handelsblatt that Erdogan should give up any idea of recreating Turkey’s past conquests as the Turkish President keeps sending fighter jets into Greek airspace and said he will go ahead with plans to look for oil and gas in the seas between the countries.

“We are not the ones who nurture fantasies about empires of bygone times,” said Mitsotakis, adding that he doesn’t want a confrontation or for relations to keep deteriorating.

He also said he’s anxious about what the falling Turkish economy could mean to regional stability, with other analysts indicating that Erdogan could look to distract Turks by going after Greece and continue drilling off Cyprus.

After Germany – home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage and an arms supplier to Turkey – blocked Mitsotakis’ call for sanctions, the Greek leader said Germany “is not a non-involved, neutral, third party” when it comes to Greek-Turkish relations.

Greece and Turkey have been brought to the point of conflict previously when Turkish warships and an energy research vessel were near the Greek island of Kastellorizo before leaving – Erdogan saying they would return.

Turkey, which seized the northern third of Cyprus in unlawful 1974 invasions, has ignored soft European Union sanctions in continuing to look for energy off the island and warned that foreign companies licensed Cyprus to operate there wouldn’t be allowed in waters that Turkey claimed as its own.

 

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