by Aggelos Skordas
Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras’, statements on Wednesday from the Davos’ World Economic Forum regarding the aggressive behaviour Turkey has been demonstrating in the Aegean Sea has caused a fierce reaction from Ankara. In a statement issued on Thursday, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, characterised the Greek Premier’s remarks as “unacceptable”, while advising Tsipras to look “at his own cabinet for the tangible example of ‘aggression’”.
Specifically, during a discussion about stabilising the Mediterranean and addressing the migration crisis, Tsipras highlighted that Greece’s European partners should be aware of the challenges Greece has to face while living with an “aggressive” neighbour, such as Turkey. As he said, Greece did not only have to cope with the worst economic crisis and the refugee crisis but also with “an aggressive neighbour, sometimes unpredictable with an aggressive military activity in the Aegean”. Furthermore, in a different part of his speech, the Greek Prime Minister said that “for somebody, it might be very easy to be also aggressive if they are living in Luxembourg or Netherlands, because their neighbours are Belgium and Luxembourg, and not Turkey. But this is not the case for us”, while adding that the time is right for Europe to take a decision over Turkey’s aggressive behaviour in regards to migration crisis.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs came from its spokesperson Hami Aksoy: “It is not possible for us to accept the statement of the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Tsipras against Turkey in Davos yesterday (January 24). We think that Mr. Tsipras should rather look at his own cabinet for the tangible example of ‘aggression’. Everybody is aware that some of his colleagues fit this definition perfectly”, Askoy told the press in response to a question regarding the Greek Prime Minister’s statements, most likely referring to Tsipras’ junior coalition partner ANEL (Independent Greeks) leader and National Defense Minister, Panos Kammenos.
Turkey’s discontent was also expressed by the press and especially the pro-government news organisations such as daily newspaper Sözcü. With the emphatic title “Insolence from Greece… Unimaginable words by Tsipras for Turkey”, Sözcü, which has been supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, refers to the Greek Premier’s statements, stressing that “he is under pressure after Erdogan’s visit to Greece”. In a similar tone Hürriyet describes Tsipras’ statements as “out of limits”. His speech “contained harsh words about Turkey” which “will increase tension”,the Turkish daily estimates.