Greek PM says he seeks closer ties with Turkey, but it must ‘abandon aggressive conduct’

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the media, during a press conference with Cyprus' President Nikos Christodoulide in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 31, 2023. (Yiannis Kourtoglou Pool via AP)
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the media, during a press conference with Cyprus' President Nikos Christodoulide in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 31, 2023. (Yiannis Kourtoglou Pool via AP)

Greece’s prime minister says that his government wants to take full advantage of a developing positive political climate with neighboring Turkey in order to improve bilateral relations despite a string of decades-old disputes.

But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says that doesn’t mean Turkey has “substantially changed” its stance on key differences between the two countries and needs to “decisively abandon its aggressive and unlawful conduct” against Greece’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Turkey and Greece remain at odds over maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, a dispute that affects irregular migration into the European Union, mineral rights and the projection of military power.

Mitsotakis says he agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12 to initiate new “lines of communication” and to maintain “a period of calm.”

High-level talks between the the two countries are expected to take place in the Greek city of Thessaloniki later this year.

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