Greek PM Mitsotakis will meet with Erdogan on May 13: "We will create marine parks in the Aegean"

Mitsotakis Erdoğan

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the press after the European Union Summit in Brussels that he would meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on May 13.

Speaking about Turkey's reaction to Greece's plan to create marine parks in the Aegean Sea, Mitsotakis said, "Greece exercises its sovereign rights in the Aegean based on international law and the law of the sea," adding that this was a "completely unjustified reaction by Turkey."

"We will move ahead in creating the parks as we committed at the recent conference in Athens," Mitsotakis said.

"Greece exercises its sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea on the basis of International Law and the Law of the Sea, and I am impressed by Turkey's completely unjustified reaction to an initiative that ultimately has an environmental characteristic," Mitsotakis said.

The park in the Aegean will protect seabirds, covering more than 8,000 square kilometres or just over 6.6% of Greece’s territorial waters. It will use a new monitoring system that will include drones, satellites, and artificial intelligence. The system will be ready by 2026, with traditional monitoring methods being used until then.

Other measures include banning bottom trawling in national marine parks by 2026 and in all marine protected areas by 2030, reducing plastic pollution and mapping marine habitats of protected areas.

The parks' creation was part of Greece’s pledges during the Our Ocean Conference.

Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, said on Wednesday that Ankara would “not allow” marine parks to be created in the Aegean and called on Athens to abandon plans that would “harm” efforts to improve ties.

“We consider this a step that sabotages the normalisation process and that this unilateral approach is an exploitation of environmental sensitivities,” Çelik said.

“We would like to remind Greece once again that it should not deviate from the path of diplomacy, that no steps that would harm normalisation should be taken and that Türkiye will in no way allow actions toward the declaration of marine parks in the Aegean Sea,” he added.

Speaking about Greek-Turkish relations, Mitsotakis said "I do not consider that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, which is indisputable and measurable, leads to the working hypothesis that Turkey's positions on the Exclusive Economic Zones have changed, which remains deeply problematic for our country, but that does not prevent us from building a positive agenda. Tomorrow, for example, I will be in Mytilene and the islands of the eastern Aegean, where there is satisfaction since Turks can now travel to these islands without a visa."

Regarding Iran's attack on Israel, he emphasised that "Iran must be isolated for its behaviour towards Israel."

The prime minister noted that emphasis was placed on preventing an escalation of the conflict. "I think it is extremely important that the text of the conclusions also refers to the situation in Gaza. The crisis is such that it requires an immediate ceasefire," he said.

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