Erdogan's remarks unsettle Athens

Erdogan's remarks unsettle Athens
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Just a few days after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent messages to Athens that deeply troubled Greek politicians and diplomats.

By Nikolaos Stelgias

Recent statements by the Turkish president regarding Greek-Turkish relations have caused a political and diplomatic upheaval in the Greek capital. Just a few days after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent messages to Athens that deeply troubled Greek politicians and diplomats.

According to Greek media reports, Erdogan mentioned the problems of Western Thrace during his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister, saying, "The main issue I discussed with him relates to the problems in Western Thrace. We want to solve these problems and address the issue of the muftis. Our ambassadors will be involved in meetings and preparations, along with our foreign ministers. Finally, the two leaders will meet to take the necessary steps."

Greek media emphasize that Erdogan hinted at the possibility of meeting the Greek prime minister again once preliminary preparations have been made at the ambassadorial and ministerial levels.


Athens was quick to respond to the Turkish president's latest statements. According to information from the Greek capital, diplomatic sources have refuted Erdogan's claims that the Western Thrace issue and the issue of muftis were among the main topics discussed during his meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Lithuania.

According to sources quoted by the Athens-Macedonia News Agency, "During the discussion between the Greek and Turkish delegations on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, various issues were raised. Among them, the Greek Prime Minister raised the issue of the interference of the Turkish consulate in Rhodope during the recent election period".

The sources further emphasized that "regarding the issue of the Muslim minority in Thrace, which the Turkish side has been raising over time, it should be noted that the Greek Prime Minister has neither discussed nor accepted discussions on issues concerning Greek citizens and the sovereign interests of the country.


The latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations have caused waves within Greece's ruling party. Members of New Democracy disagree with both the actions of the Mitsotakis government and the messages coming from Ankara.

An aide to former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras expressed their views on social media, saying, "Turkey continues to provoke and create new 'fait accompli' situations while demanding more. There is an appeasement lobby in Greece that regularly proposes substantial concessions to Turkey."


In Athens, the opposition parties have also reacted strongly to the latest developments in the relations between Athens and Ankara. The main opposition party, SYRIZA, called on the government to evaluate the Turkish president's new statements regarding Western Thrace. They noted, "If Erdogan's statements are true, it confirms once again how dangerous Mr. Mitsotakis' patriotic recklessness is for the country."

"Mr. Mitsotakis must respond immediately if it is true that he accepted negotiations with Turkey on issues concerning Greek citizens. Especially since he exploited the Thrace issue during the election campaign, claiming that he would personally raise it with the Turkish president, without considering the consequences for national interests," the statement underlined.

PASOK-KIN.ALL, the third largest party in Greece, also issued a sharp comment, accusing the prime minister of rushing to discuss concessions before seeing tangible signs from Tayyip Erdogan.

"Mr. Mitsotakis is rushing to discuss a window for concessions without seeing any tangible signs from the Turkish president, who has consistently pursued the 'blue homeland' doctrine, questioned Greek sovereignty over the eastern Aegean islands and engaged in negotiations and blackmail within NATO for the F-16s. Foreign policy issues need to be taken seriously and not just in terms of public communication. Good neighborly relations require respect for international law, not provocations and dangerous revisionist logic," the PASOK statement stressed.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said, "It is obvious that the project of dangerous solutions in Greek-Turkish relations is advancing rapidly under Euro-Atlantic supervision, with the NATO summit as a milestone. The Prime Minister's unacceptable references to 'concessions as a starting point for negotiations' and the newly coined phrase 'core of the dispute', which refers to sovereignty issues, pave the way for this direction. All the talk about 'historical opportunities' has no connection with reality, because the negotiations are not between peoples, but between bourgeois classes, whose only criterion is the promotion of their own interests at the expense of the Greek and Turkish people".