ATHENS – A NATO meeting in Madrid on June 29-30 is shaping up to be a heavy game between Greece and Turkey with all eyes on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the ring – s ‘they speak.
Erdogan says Mitsotakis ‘doesn’t exist’ for him and has severed most communications between the countries – their defense ministers have met – Turkish leader upset that Greek PM urged US Congress, in a speech, to reject President Joe Biden’s plan to sell more F-16s to Turkey.
These could be used against Greece in a conflict, with increased anxiety over Turkish provocations, including sending fighter jets into Greek airspace, demanding that Greece withdraw troops from the sea islands Aegean, planning to search for energy off the Greek islands and saying it would be cause for war if Greece doubled its maritime borders to 12 miles.
Read more: Mitsotakis: It’s up to Turkey to defuse the tension
While Mitsotakis said he still wanted to try diplomacy and dialogue, which failed against Erdogan, he said he still hoped they would talk at some point, and that the NATO meeting is a perfect setting.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg refused to intervene and largely sided with Turkey, even backing Erdogan’s vow to veto any hope of joining the alliance. defense of Sweden and Finland, countries of the European Union.
Mitsotakis — who has built foreign alliances against Turkey, added to Greece’s arsenal and quit a military cooperation deal with the United States — is ready for a showdown if that happens, Kathimerini said.
After Germany gave him only half-hearted support in the face of Erdogan‘s refusal to speak – and then escalated – Mitsotakis wants the European Council, which makes up the leaders of the bloc’s 27 countries, to stick to its sides and by his side.
“Athens is fully covered by the draft conclusions, which clearly ask Turkey to stop challenging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of EU countries and return to a process of de-escalation,” Mitsotakis said in Brussels during the meeting. of an EU meeting.
“I really hope that Turkey will listen this time, because only in this way will it be possible to reduce the tension that has been created in the eastern Mediterranean over the past two months, for which the neighboring country is responsible. “, did he declare. reports the newspaper.
Turkey – Erdogan, like Mitsotakis, faces an election in 2023 – escalated the tension after warning that Greece’s refusal to demilitarize islands near the Turkish coast could prompt a military response, which has heightened the ‘worry.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay insisted that “if the demilitarization of the Aegean islands does not happen soon, we will challenge the sovereignty of the islands under international law and agreements”.
He did not mention that Turkey does not recognize these laws and agreements unless citing to its advantage, while Erdogan openly coveted the return of the islands ceded to Greece in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which he did not don’t accept.
In a joint press conference with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, Oktay blamed Mitsotakis, calling him “the prime minister of a country that militarizes the Aegean islands, blatantly violating international agreements.”