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Greek PM tells Turkey to stop ‘aggressive posturing’ in Mediterranean

Athens calls for talks over maritime dispute during a visit to Saudi Arabia to strengthen ties with Gulf countries

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right) participate in a session at the annual Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on October 26, 2021. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (right) participate in a session at the annual Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on October 26, 2021. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Greece’s leader on Tuesday called on Turkey to stop its “aggressive posturing” and engage in talks over their maritime dispute, during a visit to Saudi Arabia to strengthen ties with Gulf countries.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned that Greece had “drawn our lines very, very clearly” after signing defense deals with the United States and France earlier this month.

Mitsotakis also held talks with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, and Bahrain’s crown prince before addressing the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

“We are secure. I don’t think there is a geopolitical threat,” Mitsotakis told the elite annual meeting dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert,’ with Prince Mohammed in the audience.

“And I think at the end of the day, Turkey will also realize that this aggressive posturing in the eastern Mediterranean is not going to lead anywhere.”

Tensions soared last year when Turkey sent a gas exploration ship and small navy flotilla to hunt for resources in waters which Greece considers its own under treaties.

In July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan endorsed a formal partition of Cyprus, which Ankara invaded in 1974 in response to a coup engineered by Greece’s then military junta.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen during an official state visit to Angola at the presidential palace in Luanda, on October 18, 2021. (Osvaldo Silva/AFP)

Greece also blames Turkey for not taking sufficient action to curb smugglers who send out migrants in unsafe boats and dinghies from its shores.

According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, more than 2,500 people have crossed the Aegean from neighboring Turkey this year, compared to over 9,700 in 2020.

“I think we’ve set up our alliances, we’ve drawn our lines very, very clearly,” Mitsotakis said.

“And I do hope that at some point, Turkey will constructively engage with us to resolve the one main outstanding issue we have, which is the delineation of maritime shores.”

He added: “We’re always open for dialogue, but we will not be intimidated and we will not accept our sovereign rights to be compromised.”

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