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Mitsotakis Says Greece Can Play Political Hardball, Softball Too

Αssociated Press

Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis listens a question during a press conference in Athens, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – Trying to walk the thin line between diplomacy and resolution as Turkey ramps up provocations, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece prefers negotiations to confrontation but will be tough when needed.

“Greece is stronger economically as well as geopolitically. We have established a network of strong alliances in a relatively volatile region,” Mitsotakis told an event organized by the Hellenic Initiative nonprofit organization in New York.

Mitsotakis said that Greece’s military capability had grown over the past decade, especially under his New Democracy administration that has been adding to the Air Force and Naval arsenal.

“We are stronger in terms of something very significant which is Greece’s soft power; (the country’s) international appeal,” he said, said Kathimerini, after he said at another forum that Turkey was acting unlawfully in its insistence on plans to hunt for energy off Greek islands.

Mitsotakis also has said that Greece will, if necessary, defend its soverign territory but there's been no return to the near-danger level of 2020 and before when there were worries of a conflict between the countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after a summer truce with Greece so that both countries could lure tourists, has returned to aggressive tactics, including having warships scare off a Maltese-flagged energy research ship off Crete that was licensed by Greece.

He's also flexing military might, including at the just-completed Teknofest in Constantinople where fighter jets and drones were shown off, said France 24.