PM Mitsotakis says he is ready to lay "cards on the table" with President Erdogan



Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to hold a tense meeting on the sidelines of the NATO 70th Anniversary summit in London today, Wednesday, December 4, over energy exploration and Ankara’s deal with Libya on Mediterranean maritime zones.

A map published by Turkey shows the Turkish and Libyan Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) meeting midway across the Mediterranean, over an area also claimed by Greece.

Today’s meeting will be the first time since assuming office in July that the Greek leader has met Erdoğan.

"I shall put to President Erdogan all the issues relating to Turkish provocation," Mitsotakis said. "We will talk openly. And it is in Turkey's interest to retrench from provocative moves."

“We will talk with our cards on the table,” Mitsotakis told AMNA. “Turkey’s attempt to abolish the maritime borders of islands like Crete, Rhodes, Karpathos, and Kastelorizo with tricks such as void bilateral memorandums of understanding, will not produce internationally legal results,” he stressed.

“Tukey cannot challenge the sovereign rights of our islands, which are enshrined in international law and particularly by the Law of the Sea.”

Erdogan has said: "There is a request from the Greek prime minister for us to meet and we shall discuss these matters in that meeting," he said.

"However, the Greeks should be aware that the efforts of Greece, Israel, Egypt, and the Greek Cypriots will not stand in the way of the steps we have taken with Libya. We signed the agreement. We will bring it to Parliament, where it will be ratified by a majority and from that point on it will be in force."

The controversial agreement reached between Libya and Turkey last week triggered widespread condemnation amid fears it would further complicate disputes over drilling for offshore deposits in contested waters around Cyprus.

On Tuesday the US State Department said the move was “unhelpful and provocative and raises tensions in the eastern Mediterranean at a sensitive time”.

Greece has warned Libya’s ambassador to Athens that if he failed to provide clarifications to the Greek government he would be expelled.