Mitsotakis’ credit with Ankara has expired, Erdogan’s aide says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis did not seize the opportunity given to him by Erdogan.
What credit Mitsotakis had with Ankara has ended when he involved third parties in our bilateral relations, Altun said in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper on Wednesday, referring to Greek premiers’ call on US Congress to not sell F-16s to Turkey.
“The Greek prime minister will have to make a significant effort in order to convince Turkey that Greece is sincere in acting like a civilized neighbor,” Altun said.
Neighboring Greece and Turkey are embroiled in disputes over a string of issues, including territory, airspace, the status of Aegean islands and hydrocarbon exploration rights in Eastern Mediterranean. The two NATO allies resumed talks last year, in an effort to resolve their differences, however, Erdogan last month announced that Ankara has halted the bilateral initiative, after Mitsotakis called on the US Congress to reject to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in his visit to Washington D.C. in May.
Mitsotakis "no longer exists" for him, Erdogan said. Any meeting would be impossible until the Greek premier “pulls himself together,” he added. In response, Mitsotakis said the channels of communication need to remain open between Athens and Ankara.
Turkey wants good relations with all of its neighbors for peace and stability in the region, however, it will not allow anyone to take advantage of its good intentions, Altun told Kathimerini.
Turkish President gave the Greek government a chance, by opening the channels of dialogue, but Mitsotakis did not seize the opportunity, Altun said.
“Even though he promised not to get third parties involved in our bilateral relationship, he sent messages against Turkey in the United States. That ended what credit he had with Ankara,” Altun said.
Mitsotakis may believe that Greece has benefited from such maneuvers in the past, but he needs to understand that Turkey is no longer the old Turkey, he said.
Altun said he is not expecting any meeting between Erdogan and Mitsotakis under the current circumstances.
In response to a question regarding the tensions between Athens and Ankara over the Aegean islands’ status, Altun said certain islands were granted demilitarized status, according to 1923 Lausanne Treaty and 1947 Paris Treaty.
However, Greece has violated international agreements by militarizing them, Altun said.
If Greece opens up the existing treaties for discussion, it will only harm itself, he said.