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Of Mr Erdogan’s many and excessive abominations, I hold only one for the dialogue and I respond with six clear words: The challenges stop, the discussions begin
And he warned he was ready to involve the United Nations in the dispute, which continues to simmer with Turkish vessel the Oruc Reis continuing to undertake research close to the Greek island of Kastellorizo. Speaking today, Mr Mitsotakis said: “Of Mr Erdogan‘s many and excessive abominations, I hold only one for the dialogue and I respond with six clear words: The challenges stop, the discussions begin.
“Our country can and wants to discuss the definition of maritime zones in the Aegean based on international law without blackmailing itself and without violating logic.
“Let the threats go away so that the contacts can start.”
Mr Mitsotakis said in addition to what he characterised as the “aggression” of Turkey, Greece was also faced with behaviour from its neighbour which challenged “any rule of the United Nations Charter”.
He added: “With a rhetoric that distorts history and distorts geography, undermining legitimacy and moves that endanger security throughout the Mediterranean.”
“That is why I want to tell you that today the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will deliver my letter to the UN Secretary General where the illegal activity of Ankara is presented.
“Like the threats it poses to stability in the region, which is crucial for international trade.”
“In the difficult days we are going through, any tension anywhere on the world map is a challenge for the peacekeepers and even more so when it manifests itself on the eastern border of Greece, which is also the eastern border of Europe.”
Mr Mitsotakis warned: “Turkey’s illegal action is an international challenge that requires an international response and the only compass can be international law.
“Greece has never hidden that at the same time with the rights it defends the good neighbourhood, diplomacy is another aspect of the country’s power.”
Also speaking today, government spokesman Stelios Petsas suggested Turkey could face economic sanctions as a result of the ongoing dispute.
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Greece in recent months had demarcated maritime zones with Italy and Egypt with “absolute respect for good neighbourly relations” and the Law of the Sea, Mr Mitsotakis said.
He added: “On the contrary, Turkey, sometimes with the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum, sometimes with illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, sometimes with successive illegal NAVTEX and sometimes with the provocative rhetoric of its leadership, acts as a rioter and a factor of instability in our wider region.
“This is the conclusion reached by all important international actors, in Europe and in America.
“Our European partners have already drawn up a list of sanctions and are calling on Ankara to de-escalate; otherwise the sanctions will be activated.
“The United States, with repeated statements by the State Department, condemns Turkey’s behaviour.
“Therefore, it is up to Ankara to choose either practical de-escalation or sanctions.”
Mr Petsas added: “Greece will be neither forced, terrorised nor blackmailed.
“We therefore expect the neighbouring country to abandon provocation that leads to dead end and come to the table of exploratory contacts. With honest diplomacy, not adventurous propaganda.
“With a realistic framework, not arbitrary and illegal, under International Law, claims.
“And finally under a single document: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“So that we can seek a mutually acceptable agreement on the only bilateral issue, the delimitation of our maritime zones.
“And, in case we do not agree, to proceed with the drafting of a joint application for the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”
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