The Turkish President has repeatedly declared that he does not recognize the Greek Prime Minister and that he is not going to talk to him again, apparently deeply annoyed that he has been cornered internationally, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech to the U.S. Congress as a prime example.
However, these statements of his against the Greek Prime Minister, backfired on him since Erdogan cannot present himself, on the one hand, as a responsible leader, acting in accordance with international law, etc., and on the other hand to say that… he will not even talk to Mitsotakis.
There were many who expected that the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York would be a good opportunity for him to meet with Mitsotakis in a ‘face-saving’ way – but this did not happen.
Nevertheless, in the middle of this week they will both be in Prague, and yesterday, Kyriakos Mitsotakis made yet another masterful move – he took an initiative that creates an even bigger problem for Erdogan.
“If the Turkish President,” said the Greek government representative, “seeks a meeting, the Greek side will evaluate it and respond positively.”
After that, Erdogan faces the dilemma that if he meets with Mitsotakis he will be forced to…swallow his words and appear weak to Turkish public opinion, and if he does not respond then he will be exposed in international public opinion.
It is clear that the crisis that Erdoğan himself systematically created and that is intensifying daily with outrageous claims that threaten Greece’s sovereignty, should be resolved through talks, in order not to end up in a conflict.
This does not mean that the two countries cannot be brought into conflict even after talks.
If Erdoğan’s goal is to avoid talks and place the burden of responsibility on the Greek side for what follows, however, then Mitsotakis’ initiative pulls the Turkish rug from under his feet.
If he really wishes to soften the tone of his statements and make an attempt to start talks, which can peacefully resolve at least some of the problems, then he should respond positively to Mitsotakis’ proposal.