ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about the danger of an “accident” in the Aegean, during statements he made during his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte during his official visit to Rome.
It is not the first time that the risk of a ‘crash’ has been mentioned in the Aegean, but it is the first time this has been said by the current government since the famous ‘restart’ of Greek-Turkish relations was agreed between the two countries at the Mitsotakis-Erdogan meeting on September 25th.
The Greek prime minister essentially said – and for the first time – that Turkey’s aggressive behavior will sooner or later lead to a “hot” incident in the Aegean.
“Turkey unfortunately continues an aggressive and impassioned behavior in the Aegean, thus increasing the chance of an accident. For our part, we maintain an attitude of self-restraint, but we are firmly in defense of our sovereignty and national rights deriving from treaties and international law. The Turkish provocation, however, is not limited there. As you know, the neighboring country is expanding its offensive activity within the EEZ [Economic Exclusion Zone] of the Republic of Cyprus, violating International Law in the wider area of the eastern Mediterranean,” the Greek Prime Minister said in more detail.
In detail Mitsotaki’s statements after meeting with J. Conte:
“With my Italian counterpart, today we have had the opportunity to look at the excellent relations between the two countries and, above all, to study how they can become even closer, even more efficient. That is why we have decided to strengthen our bilateral contacts. After all – as you said dear Giuseppe – our bonds come from the depths of History. Determined by cultures, by our geographical location, I would say by the common temperament of our peoples,” he said.
“Just as common is the way we face modern challenges. As you know, dear Giuseppe, my country, after a decade of economic hardship, is already on a growth path. And I want to urge the many, dynamic Italian companies that I know are interested in, trusting, investing in the new Greek economic reality. The geostrategic position of Greece, at the crossroads of three continents, is well-suited for many business ventures, joint ventures, in the wider Balkans, the southeastern Mediterranean, and southeastern Europe,” the Greek leader continued.
“On the other hand, Italy is a potential destination for Greek exports. It is the first destination for Greek exports. A trend that is increasing year by year. With our friend Prime Minister, we also discussed our energy cooperation. Energy security, on the other hand, and diversification of energy sources are priorities for both countries. So, in anticipation of the completion of the TAP pipeline – which will deliver gas to Europe via Italy – we exchanged views on other energy projects, such as the EastMed pipeline,” he said.
“The refugee and migrant crisis is also a matter of particular concern to both sides. Greece is the eastern border of Europe. It is an entry country, tested by a huge load of flows. Multiple of its capabilities to manage and, unfortunately, ever-increasing. It is something that raises our concerns,” he added.