Chancellor Merkel Says Greece and Turkey Came Close to War



German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Berlin. File Photo

It became clear just how close Greece and Turkey came to military conflict recently when longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated in the Bundestag on Wednesday “Nobody can imagine how fine the line is, in some cases, between military conflict and a peaceful settlement.”

The powerful German leader, who has many times mediated between European powers in difficult situations, was referring to the recent serious tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean “between Greece and Turkey and Turkey and Cyprus.”

Just before the EU Summit on Thursday, during which there will also be a discussion of the EU’s relations with Turkey, Merkel also referred to the complaints regarding violations of human rights but also to Turkey’s “spectacular and remarkable” performance” in terms of hosting refugees because, as Merkel said, it is the country with the highest number of refugees in the world, four million.

“We must weigh very carefully how we will handle the tensions and how we will enhance our cooperation in migration and for the humane treatment of migrants and refugees,” the Chancellor said, adding that “we must redefine our relation with Turkey each time and insist on collaboration with it in important matters.”