ANKARA — Greece’s reaching out to build an international alliance against Turkish aggressions should stop, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, mocking the call.
After Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias complained that the European Union should have sanctioned Turkey for continuing its plans to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands, Cavusoglu essentially tweeted a taunt in response.
“Dear Niko, here’s some friendly advice for the new year – stop asking for help from others and injuring the Greek people’s dignity,” Cavusoglu wrote. He added: “May 2021 be the year when we settle our differences equitably by talking directly, sincerely, and earnestly.”
Greece was caught in a trap of its own making when Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in October pulled back his demand for sanctions when Turkey temporarily withdrew an energy research vessel and warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
That was, he said, to give diplomacy a chance as the EU was set to consider penalties but that was withheld to let Greece and Turkey talk – which didn’t happen – and saw Turkey send the ships back in again.
Days before the EU was to deliberate again in a Dec. 10-11 meeting, Erdogan took the ships back out again and when Mitsotakis renewed his call for sanctions they were blocked.
That was led by Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, and a major arms supplier to Turkey, preferring that trade over supporting fellow EU member Greece in the showdown.