Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent a strong message in the wake of recent statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his discussion in Davos on Wednesday with World Economic Forum President Borge Brende.
Responding to a question regarding Erdogan’s reaction and relations with Turkey, Mitsotakis said:
“…we are neighbours [with Turkey], we always need to talk, and we always want to keep channels of communication open. We are never going to be the ones who will not talk with our neighbours. On the other hand, if President Erdogan thinks that I will not defend the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Greece and I will not make the case to the international audience that Turkey is behaving as a revisionist power, then he’s wrong.”
Mitsotakis went on to refer to his meeting with Erdogan and the fact that this was followed a month later by an unprecedented number of overflights by Turkish military planes over Greek islands. Stressing that this behaviour was “completely unacceptable”, Mitsotakis said that he “will raise this issue whenever I can until Turkey changes its behaviour.”
During the discussion, Mitsotakis also referred to developments in the European Union following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying that the EU had shown its unity and highlighting the speed with which it decided to impose unprecedented sanctions against Russia.
Referring to the energy he said there was now an additional goal, that of rapid independence from Russian natural gas, in which Greece can play a significant role as a key player in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Talking about the Greek economy, the Greek prime minister stressed that Greece was no longer the country that depended on international bailout programmes, as shown by its early repayment of the loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which he said was one of the strongest proof of how much it had changed in the last 10 years.
He attributed this to a policy of reducing excessive taxation and restoring high growth by successfully attracting international and domestic investments without jeopardising fiscal sustainability.
Mitsotakis also pointed out that Greece will be done with enhanced surveillance in August, calling this a major milestone, and hoped to regain investment grade within 2023.