Greece – Turkey relations hit new low. Erdogan suspends bilateral talks.

Left: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Right: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Photos by kremlin.ru (CC BY 4.0) and President.gov.ua (CC BY 4.0)

The two countries of Greece and Turkey experience a new low in their relations. After five years of non existing talks over differences in the Mediterranean Sea and other bilateral issues, the new round of negotiations fail yet again. On Wednesday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the members of his party (AKP) that talks between his country and Greece were over. He brought out “airspace violations” over disputed islands in the Aegean Sea and asked Greece “if they did not learn from history”. During a visit to the United States he went even further and said that the Greek Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “no longer exists” for him after accusing Greece of trying to block F-16 fighter jets sales to Turkey from the US.

Official Greek and Turkish territory.
Photo by Khoikhoi (CC BY-SA 3.0)

On Tuesday, the Greek minister Mitsotakis responded after a European Union summit and said that he informed his EU peers about Turkey’s “aggressiveness” and “provocations which cannot be tolerated by Greece or the European Union”. “I will not be involved in a game of personal insults…,” he said.

The same that that Mitsotakis made his comments, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made another statement claiming Greece was “violating international agreements that determine the demilitarised status of islands in the Aegean” and warning Greece that if Athens does not change course: “Ankara would launch challenges over the islands’ status”. Which Greece’s Foreign Ministry interpreted as a threat to Athens.

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