Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used “provocative language” directly against Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis today, February 10. The Turkish leader made sharply critical remarks about the Greek prime minister during a speech to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party, which he heads, Orthodox Times reported.
“I made a statement that we can meet with Mitsotakis. If you are looking for peace, don’t provoke me. We said negotiating contacts should begin, and they began last week in Istanbul. But Mitsotakis has again engaged in provocations. You sit at the (negotiating) table, then you get up and leave. Know your limits. If you don’t know your limits, then you have kicked the table, run away from the table,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Further touching on the topic of territorial disputes between Ankara and Athens in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish head of state said the following, as reported by a Greek newspaper:
“It is quite obvious what you are doing on the islands (in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. You will not get the benefit of those you trust. Whatever help comes, you must know that Turkey stands firm and will do the right thing. You will know well the fury of the Turks.”
As a reminder, Athens and Ankara have long-standing tensions, ranging from the divided island of Cyprus to energy exploration rights in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea. Tensions escalated last August when Turkey sent its seismic survey ship to an area of the eastern Mediterranean claimed by Greece. Athens protects its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, particularly around the island of Kastelorizo, which is in close proximity to the Turkish coast. Turkey’s decision to conduct seismic surveys in the eastern Mediterranean south of Castelorizo is a serious escalation of tensions that threaten peace and security in the area, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on October 12, 2020.