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Turkey yesterday defended its decision to send military vessels to the disputed east Mediterranean region to accompany the research vessels Oruc Reis, where it will undertake the surveys close to Megisti. The island is part of Greece’s territory but which is close to the Turkish coast.
Mr Mitsotakis met with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative for the EU for Foreign Affairs, to discuss the issue yesterday.
Afterwards Mr Mitsotakis outlined his position in a series of tweets.
He said: “The risk of an accident lurks when so many troops are concentrated in a limited area.
“And the responsibility lies with the one who causes these conditions. We will never be the first to sharpen things.
“But no challenge will go unanswered.
“We raise the attitude of responsibility and legitimacy.”
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Mr Mitsotakis called for Turkey to offer “serious foreign policy” rather than what he called “propaganda photos” and “non-existent seismic surveys”, and accused Mr Erdogan of whipping up a “nationalist frenzy”.
He added: “I emphasise again: we answer, we do not provoke.
“And with solidity, we look forward to logic finally prevailing in our neighboring country.
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“So that a bona fide dialogue can begin, based on international law and mutual respect.”
In reference to tomorrow’s meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Mitsotakis said: “Continuing its policy of aggressive provocations, Turkey has the only way open to strong sanctions against it.
“And this, at the same time that powerful states, with significant global and regional power, are drafting the law of our positions.”
The meeting was confirmed by Mr Fontelles after his meeting with Mr Mitsotakis in Brussels yesterday.
He tweeted: “We will discuss urgent issues and address the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Belarus Presidential elections, as well as developments in Lebanon.”
A statement issued by Turkey yesterday said: “Our military presence in the region is not aimed at increasing tensions.
“It is about resorting to legitimate defence if necessary.
“We will not allow in any way a military intervention against our civilian ship.”
Turkey and Greece have clashed on numerous occasions and many historical grievances have never been healed.
In 1974, Turkey invaded northern Cyprus, with 200,000 Greek Cypriots expelled from the region as a result.
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