Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitchells (pictured) charged Turkey with undermining peace in the Eastern Mediterranean region during wartime, but assured the Turkish people that Greece was not a threat.
These two countries, both allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but historical foes, have been at odds for decades over a variety of issues, including where their continental shelves begin and end, energy resources and overflights in Aegean Sea.
“Turkey’s leadership seems a strange fixation on my country. … If Turkey does not decide to act, they threaten it with a Turkish invasion. During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Mitsotakis stated that this is the language used by aggressors.
“From the UN, I would like to address… the Turkish people directly: Greece is not a threat to your country. He said that we were not your enemies but are our neighbors. Let’s move on.”
Recent flare-ups in tensions between the two countries stem from long-standing tensions. Greece lodged a complaint to NATO and UN over “inflammatory” statements made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdan.
Erdogan claimed that Greece was guilty of “crimes against humanity” this week. He was referring to the treatment of migrants and its earlier actions of occupying demilitarised islands in the Aegean.
Greece claims that Turkey is challenging Greek sovereignty over the islands and exploiting the migration problem.
Mitsotakis stated that Greece would not be bullied by any one. He also said that Ukraine was not the only postwar European country to have been attacked. Furthermore, he added that Cypriots had lived on a divided island since 1974 as a result of an illegal Turkish invasion.
Mitsotakis also mentioned Greece’s persistent demand that the Parthenon marbles be returned to the British Museum in London.
The Parthenon temple was a 5-century BC architectural masterpiece. Lord Elgin, a British diplomat, removed the sculptures from Athens’ Parthenon temple. This took place during Ottoman rule.
The conservative premier stated that “No matter how long it takes, the Parthenon Marbles will eventually be returning home.”
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