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Politics

Turkey’s Move: Mitsotakis Willing to Meet Erdogan at EU Meeting

ATHENS – If asked, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis would meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Prague, although the Turkish leader has broken off communication between the two.

“If the Turkish President … seeks such a meeting, the Greek side will evaluate it and respond positively,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told reporters, putting the onus on Erdogan to make the first move.

While not a member, Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join the EU since 2005, the prospects worsening under Erdogan’s authoritarian government that has jailed journalists and purged civil society, the education system, courts and military over a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

Countries outside the EU, including the Britain and the Ukraine were als invited and there was no immediate response from Turkey over the idea of the meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan.

After Mitsotakis addressed the US Congress in May and urged lawmakers to reject President Joe Biden’s plan to sell Turkey more F-16’s and upgrade its Air Force, a furious Erdogan said the Greek leader “no longer exists” for him.

Since then, only the countries defense chiefs have spoken and tensions have built to near-conflict levels over constant Turkish provocations and Erdogan’s threat to invade and “come suddenly one night.”

But Greece is still willing to try diplomacy, said Reuters, although it hasn’t worked with the volatile Erdogan who has ignored soft EU sanctions over Turkey drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters.

Erdogan has accused Greece of “crimes against humanity” for allegedly pushing back refugees and migrants that Turkey has allowed human traffickers to keep sending in violation of an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU. Greece has repeatedly denied the claims.

Erdogan also has demanded that Greece remove troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast – which would leave them open to invasion – and he cited the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he doesn’t recognize as the reason.

The inaugural summit of the European Political Community will take place in Prague on Oct. 6 to mostly discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fallout it has brought in soaring energy prices in the 27-member bloc.

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