Erdoğan to Mitsotakis: “We can talk but you should stop the armament program”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed relations with Greece to journalists on his return plane from the occupied territories of Cyprus.

After saying in the past “Mitsotakis yok” – referring to his past comments that he would not talk to the New Democracy leader – the Turkish president is seemingly willing to meet and talk with him at the Vilnius NATO summit in July.

But he also made it clear that if this happens, he would raise the issue of armaments. “After our election, Mr. Mitsotakis called and congratulated us. That was the process. Therefore, if we happen to meet in Vilnius, we will not hesitate to talk. We are two neighbouring countries”.

Erdoğan went on to stress that “as long as there were no signals that turn us back, then we will seek to reduce tensions and hostilities, not increase them. Therefore, we will discuss them there as well”.

And he continued: “Of course, there is something here. We know what to say. What is this? Mr. Prime Minister, stop the armaments now. So where are you going with these armaments? America keeps giving you lots of weapons.

"Are you taking them because they are giving them to you for free?”. We’ll probably talk about those. Know also that we are here to diminish our enemies, not to increase them. This is the Turkish Republic, this is Erdogan.”

Commenting on the possibility of talks on the Cyprus issue, the Turkish president said that" There is a more peaceful atmosphere with the current administration of the Greek Cypriot side compared to the previous ones.

"If they maintain this peaceful atmosphere and say 'yes' to protecting the sovereign equality rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus without any provocations, especially from the European Union, we will say “why not”.

"But they must recognise the sovereign equality rights of Northern Cyprus. To this day, the European Union is dishonest towards Northern Cyprus. 50 years have passed, and this European Union is still in the same place, nothing has changed.

"We will put these things on the table. We have to reconsider that too.”

Erdoğan added: “As Turkey, we will continue to contribute to protecting the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots and ensuring peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"As Turkey builds its century, defending the rights of Turkish Cypriots will continue to be our priority. I reiterated to Mr. Tatar our determination in this matter."

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