During his speech at today’s extraordinary teleconference of EU leaders on developments in Belarus, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that “distressing images of violent repression” are making its way around the world and stressed the need to send a message of so-called solidarity to the citizens of Belarus.
Agreeing with the position of Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis that Europe cannot adopt “two meters and two weights” for Belarus and Turkey, Mitsotakis also stressed that the EU approach in terms of human rights and the rule of law can not be different for Belarus and different for Turkey.
In the discussion that followed on the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Prime Minister referred to the agreement on the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Greece with Egypt, an “absolutely legal and exemplary agreement.” Mitsotakis reiterated that Turkey “currently systematically violates all the rules of international law,” while presenting to his European counterparts the facts that unfolded in the area of the illegal Turkish NAVTEX, analyzing the risks to its own security.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Greece has never denied dialogue with Turkey.
“No, but,” he stressed,”as long as there is tension at sea, on land and in the air and, however, only for one of our differences which is the delimitation of the sea zones.”
In view of the informal EU Council of Foreign Ministers on August 27 and the European Council on relations with Turkey on 24 and 25 September, reaffirmed that all options – including sanctions – for Turkey are on the table.
The President of the European Council Charles Michel clarified that “all possibilities will be on the table.”
“We had the opportunity to discuss the Eastern Mediterranean issue. And this question about relations with Turkey was asked by different Member States,” said Michel. “We expressed our full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and repeated what we had said in the past about mining. We agreed to discuss these issues at our meeting in September. All possibilities will be on the table.
“We will monitor the situation day by day. Solidarity is in Greece and Cyprus is a given and it is not theoretical,” said Michel.
Asked if the EU would be as immediate on sanctions against Turkey as on Belarus, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “these are different cases, we have a long history with Turkey,” describing steps of rapprochement but also tensions. “The issue will not be raised only in the informal Council of Foreign Ministers, but also in the meeting of leaders. As President Michel said, all options will be on the table. We want dialogue that solves problems. And we want to solve them together.”