PM Mitsotakis Tells CNN Turkish Behavior Threatens Stability of Eastern Mediterranean



Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. File Photo

In a Wednesday television interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke at length about Turkey’s continued aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, declaring that it must stop its continued provocations before any talks can take place between the two countries.

“In past year or year and a half,” the PM related, “there has been an increased level of provocation by Turkey on several fronts.”

Asked what he would like the outcome of the situation to be ideally, the Prime Minister stated that the two nations should “sit and discuss” the differences between them as “civilized neighbors.” However, as it is, he said, Greece “cannot tolerate the unilateral activities” of Turkey in its repeated incursions into the Eastern Mediterranean.

Prime Minister Mitsotakis being interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Greek government photo

One of the major issues PM Mitsotakis said Greece has with Turkey at the moment is that that nation had “sent significant numbers of military vessels” to the area between Crete and Cyprus.

Asked by interviewer Christiane Amanpour what message, if any, he would like to send to Turkey, the Prime Minister said “Stop the provocations and let’s start talking.”

Expanding on this possibility, PM Mitsotakis mentioned that the recent pact signed by Greece and Egypt which established maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean “could work as a blueprint for other similar agreements” between other nations as well.

However, that “cannot happen if we are engaged in saber-rattling, and if we have to every now and then face half the Turkish fleet in the Eastern Aegean,” he reasoned.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Greek government photo

The Greek leader then added, “This is not the way to conduct foreign policy if we at least want to support international law and promote good-neighborly relations.”

The Prime Minister also spoke to CNN about how Greece has handled the coronavirus pandemic, stating that Greece did in fact have an increase in cases “as we expected, when we opened up our economy,” but adding that his country has dealt very well with all the issues related to the virus.

He mentioned that Greece uses a “sophisticated algorithm” in testing all those who enter the country and that there are increasingly strict measures in place where needed to control the spread of the virus.

“Greece is a very safe place,” he stressed to Amanpour, explaining that the experiences of tourists in Greece this year are for the most part very similar to what they had experienced in years past.

“The challenge,” the Greek leader said, “is always to keep the economy as open as possible” while keeping citizens and travelers safe.

Interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN

Watch | Interview with Christiane Amanpour on CNN.

Posted by Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday, August 19, 2020