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Mitsotakis Briefs Scholz on Turkish Provocations

BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed the support for Ukraine, the energy crisis, but also escalating Turkish provocativeness during their meeting on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the second day of the extraordinary EU summit in Brussels.

According to government sources, Mitsotakis briefed the German Chancellor in detail on the Turkish provocations, ie the violations and overflights of Turkish aircraft, but also on the aggressive rhetoric of the neighbouring country, which, as the Greek prime minister said, undermined stability in the Mediterranean.

According to sources, Mitsotakis showed Scholz the map of the blue homeland with all the Turkish illegal claims and asked for Berlin’s support against Turkish delinquency.

Mitsotakis told a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels that Turkey is becoming more belligerent in disputing the sovereignty of the seas between them but they steered clear of it.

Speaking to reporters, he described Turkey “as a factor of destabilization in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” said Kathimerini, although the EU earlier had refused to bring sanctions over Turkey’s plan to renew a hunt for energy off Greek islands and NATO ignored Turkish violations of Greek airspace.

“Greece is facing these challenges with confidence and determination. We are a country that has international law on its side, we have strong allies and of course we have invested even more in our deterrence, so that we do not allow anyone to challenge our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said, reported ANA.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has gotten the EU to repeatedly back down, has continued to essentially ignore the bloc’s leaders and stepped up provocations against Greece and wants the US to sell Turkey more F-16 fighter jets.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias talked to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken by phone and got American lip support at the same time President Joe Biden wants to sell Turkey the F-16’s that could be used against Greece.

Blinken’s communication though came after Erdogan said he would no longer talk to Mitsotakis and said the Greek leader in an address to the US Congress asked lawmakers to block the F-16’s sale.

Dendias also spoke with three of his counterparts, Saudi Arabia’s Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Israel’s Yair Lapid and Cyprus’ Ioannis Kasoulides, the report said, Mitsotakis trying to further build alliances against Turkey.

But there’s not unanimity in the EU to help Greece, especially from Germany – an arms supplier to Turkey and home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage – after former Chancellor Angela Merkel blocked sanctions.

Asked about growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, Deputy Government spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann said that Germany was “closely monitoring developments” and called for “dialogue between the two sides,” diplomatic code meant to avoid saying anything meaningful.

Greek Defense Ministry sources not named told the paper that Greece may face multiple this summer aiming to disrupt the government and Erdogan getting even more bellicose.

That’s expected to include Turkey sending refugees and migrants again to Greek islands in bigger numbers, further violating an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the EU, as well as along the Evros River border.

The threats would possibly be played out on the islands and on the country’s northeastern border with Turkey along the Evros River, the sources said.

“This summer we may have hybrid-type threats on the islands and at the border in Evros, aiming at internal destabilization,” the sources added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also reiterated demands that Greece must take Greek troops off Greek islands near Turkey’s coast or Turkey will respond.

“Greece has violated status of the eastern Aegean islands, so Greece must disarm these islands. Otherwise, the sovereignty debate will begin,” Cavusoglu said in a TV interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

He earlier said that Turkey was “not bluffing” and is prepared to “take matters further” if Greece doesn’t remove the troops, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Turkey doesn’t recognize unless invoking to its advantage.

Cavusoglu also said that Greek politicians “think that they cannot satisfy their own people if they do not attack Turkey five or 10 times a day,” without mentioning he and Turkish officials do it all the time.

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