Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will travel to French Mediterranean island of Corsica on Thursday at the invitation of French President Emanuel Macron, Proto Thema reported.
The French leader seems to aspire to play a leading role in European affairs and has become Greece’s warmest ally, while also being one of the toughest critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Macron convened a Euro-Mediterranean conference in which Ankara’s provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean are on the table.
Mitsotakis will have a private meeting with Macron during which, according to government sources, they will discuss the broader framework of Greek-French cooperation. It is considered very likely that the agreement on the sale of French weapons (Rafale aircraft and more) will be finalized in the conversation between the two leaders.
In recent days, after all, there has been a fever of consultations between Athens and Paris.
Without falling into the trap of unbridled rhetorical provocations, in which the Turkish leadership does in conjunction with the illegal seismic surveying by the Turkish Oruç Reis research vessel on Greece’s continental shelf, the Greek government insists on moving calmly.
With close monitoring of Turkey’s illegal actions near the Greek fleet, Athens emphasises its diplomatic moves, seeking to form alliances and persuade friends and allies, but also international opinion on its own law and the extreme delinquent behavior of Turkey which is posing a threat to peace.
Aides to the prime minister claim that Mitsotakis and the government have “consciously chosen not to respond to the ongoing Turkish provocations and incendiary rhetoric of Ankara,” adding that the strategy of tension exposes Turkey to the international community.
The Greek government does not deny the resumption of dialogue procedures between the two countries. But it makes it clear in every direction that dialogue cannot begin until their fleets return to the ports.
“Challenges stop, talks begin”, was the clear message sent last Friday by Mitsotakis to both Ankara and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who a day earlier had shown an inexplicable interest in calling for technical talks at the level of military observers to start dialogue, for which comments are expected within a week. Athens considers that “Mr. Stoltenberg, voluntarily or involuntarily, satisfied Ankara ‘s demand for an unconditional dialogue,” something that Athens flatly rejects.
“These talks at a technical level in no way constitute an agreement for talks between Greece and Turkey,” Greek diplomatic sources underlined.
It is pointed out that Greece is not going to enter into a dialogue under the regime of threats, nor by creating accomplishments, as Ankara is attempting.
That is why it is escalating its diplomatic counterattack in the run-up to the September 24th and 25th European Council, which is being convened on the subject of Euro-Turkish relations.
It is now clear that the debate on sectoral sanctions against Ankara will be definite if Erdoğan does not back down.
In this context, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias traveled to New York on Friday to deliver a letter from the Greek Prime Minister to UN Secretary General António Guterres outlining and documenting Ankara’s illegal activities and the threat it poses to the East Mediterranean.
Despite the great adversity they are facing, the government and Mitsotakis maintain the initiative, both domestically in their attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, as well as internationally, opposing the prolonged Turkish provocation and the blame game in which Ankara indulges.