Turkey has condemned remarks by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who accused Ankara of undermining peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region and playing a “destabilising role”.
Long-existing tensions between the two countries have flared up recently. Greece complained to NATO and the United Nations this month over what it called “inflammatory” rhetoric.
“Unfortunately this statement [by Mitsotakis] was yet another example of distortion of facts and hostile narrative against Turkiye. Turkiye’s role in its region and beyond is well appreciated by the international community,” the Turkish delegation at the United Nations General Assembly said on Friday, using the country’s official name.
The two nations – North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies but historic foes – have been at odds for decades over a range of issues including where their continental shelves start and end, energy resources, overflights in the Aegean Sea, the status of demilitarised islands and divided Cyprus.
During his address to the UNGA, Mitsotakis said Turkey’s leadership “seems to have a strange fixation with my country”.
“They threaten that Turkey will come at night if it so decides. This is the language of an aggressor. From the UN I would like to address … the Turkish people directly: ‘Greece poses no threat to your country. We are not your enemies, we are neighbours. Let us move forward,” he said.
The Turkish delegation to the UN said Ankara does not challenge the territorial integrity or unity of Greece, calling it “a false propaganda”.
“However, Turkiye does challenge Greece to enter into an honest and meaningful dialogue in accordance with international law to address not one but all legally interrelated Aegean disputes,” it said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece this week of “crimes against humanity”, referring to its treatment of refugees, and earlier this month of occupying islands in the Aegean Sea that have a demilitarised status.