Mitsotakis says ready to “extend a hand of friendship” to Turkey
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he is ready to “extend a hand of friendship” to Turkey.
"On my side, they will always find me ready to extend a hand of friendship. We don't have any room for further needless sources of tension," Mitsotakis said during a joint press briefing with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Athens on Thursday, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.
Blaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of “poisoning his people with lies against Greece,” Mitsotakis said the differences between the two countries should be resolved peacefully.
“That is what our people want, that is what the Greek people want, that is what the Turkish people want, that is what all of Europe wants," he said.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have long been at odds over a string of issues, including territorial claims over the Mediterranean and the Aegean. The tensions between Ankara and Athens have build up lately over the status of the Aegean islands, where Turkey blames Greece for “illegally” militarizing its islands in violation of international treaties. Migration is another disputed issue between the two NATO allies that flared up tensions over the last weeks.
"My wish is that, even with delay, our neighbors will choose the road of de-escalation, of legality, of peaceful coexistence without rhetorical outbursts but with constructive actions," Mitsotakis said.
The Greek Prime Minister said that it was " a shame" that Erdogan "can't see that he is walking into a dead end when he poisons his people with lies against Greece”.
“Our neighbors and all our allies know that the Greek islands do not threaten anyone," Mitsotakis said.
During the briefing, the German chancellor Scholz also said "It should not be that NATO partners question each other's sovereignty."
"All issues must be resolved through dialogue and on the basis of international law. And we are very much in agreement on that," Scholz said, adding that it was in the interest of all neighbors to exploit the economic potential of the Mediterranean "for the benefit of their respective populations,” VOA said.
“Greece is very willing to do this. And we can and should have confidence in that," Scholz said.