February 2, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Mitsotakis: "We will not go to war with Turkey". What did Erdogan say?

On January 19, at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece would not fight with Turkey, and they plan to resolve the dispute with Turkey diplomatically.

Speaking at a panel with Farid Zakaria, the Greek Prime Minister said that he still believes it is possible to resolve the differences between Greece and Turkey, speaking with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “We must be able to sit down with Turkey as reasonable adults, and to resolve our main disagreement, which is the demarcation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.”

According to him, this is a difficult issue due to the geography of the Aegean, noting that Greece has successfully delimited zones with Italy and Egypt, and will refer the issue with Albania to the International Court of Justice. “You don’t threaten your neighbors,” he added, “and you keep channels of communication open.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the statement of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Davos insignificant. “Mitsotakis can say what he wants, but his statements are not enough to change the fate of the region,” Erdogan said on Friday. He didn’t specify what he meant.

Recall that earlier Erdogan, during his speech in the city of Samsun, said that Turkey produces its own ballistic missiles. “Of course, this production scares the Greeks. When you say “Typhoon“, the Greeks get scared and say: “She will hit Athens.” Well, of course, she will hit … If you don’t calm down, if you try to buy something (for weapons) from here and there, from America to the islands, “said he.

A provocative illustration of a Turkish Typhoon missile attack on the Greek Parliament.

Later Turkey accused Greece in an alleged attempt to interfere with exercises with NATO.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Turkish aircraft made several violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean Sea. In total, six violations were recorded over the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, with three violations of the Athens flight information region (FIR).

In December 2022, it became known that Greece and Turkey held secret negotiations against the backdrop of aggravated relations mediated by Germany. The meeting took place between press secretary R.T. Erdogan by Ibrahim Kalin and the director of the diplomatic office of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Anna-Maria Bura, as it became known from the Turkish press (Milliyet). Jens Plötner, Adviser for Foreign and Security Policy of the German Chancellery, also attended the meeting.

The German side agreed to Turkey’s demand for the demilitarization of the Aegean Sea and, as an example of a “reliable guarantor,” uses for itself the fact that it did not allow the Greek BMP-1 sent to Ukraine to be replaced on the islands.

The old Marder-1A3, transferred to Greece by Berlin, was forbidden to be transferred to the islands of the Aegean Sea, and they were transferred to Evros, as having little operational value. Because who wins and prevails in the event of a conflict in Thrace does not depend on a few dozen (currently less than 10) Marder units.

The secret diplomacy of the Greek government led to the partial demilitarization of the islands and the sending of military equipment to Ukraine (the BMP-1, a number of RM-70 rocket launchers, FHM-92 Stinger man-portable anti-aircraft systems, etc. were removed from the islands), but this did not help.

On this occasion, there is a famous quote attributed to Churchill: “If a country, choosing between war and shame, chooses shame, it gets both war and shame“.

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