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Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Erdogan must make position clear

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Erdogan must make position clear

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to clarify whether he shares the stance of his junior coalition partner, Devlet Bahceli, who was shown in a photo at the weekend holding a map depicting large Greek islands, including Crete, as Turkish.

“Take a good look at this map. Crete, Rhodes, Lesvos, Chios, Samos all consumed by Turkey. Α fever dream of extremists or Turkey’s official policy? Another provocation or the true goal? President Erdogan must make his position clear on his junior coalition partner’s latest antics,” said Mitsotakis in a tweet in English.

Indeed, Turkey’s latest provocation is seen to facilitate Athens in its effort to make Ankara’s provocative claims known to a wider international audience, especially given that the map in question was not presented by an unidentified source or an extremist, but by Erdogan’s government partner. Even if he belongs to Turkey’s political extremes, Bahceli’s actions are seen to carry institutional weight because he is a member of the cabinet.

What’s more, the map clearly depicts large islands known to the international audience, demonstrating beyond any doubt, even to those ignorant of Greek-Turkish disputes, that there is clearly a demand for a change of borders, and a change of sovereignty on Greek territory.

Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou noted “the great disparity between Turkish policy in relation to international law and the conventions Ankara has signed.” With its extreme provocativeness, Turkey, he said, is not a factor of stability and insists on provoking, with untrue and unfounded allegations, “at a time when revisionism is condemned by all the world’s powers, both in the EU and in the international community, EU and NATO.”

At the diplomatic level, Athens was quick to describe the photo of Bahceli with the disputed map as “particularly aggressive, provocative and reprehensible.” Diplomatic sources said the move was part of the escalation of extreme rhetoric emanating from Ankara.

Bahceli was also denounced by the Greek opposition, with SYRIZA’s shadow foreign affairs minister, Giorgos Katrougalos, decrying an “extreme, illegal and unacceptable provocation.” PASOK President Nikos Androulakis said it “demands immediate international condemnation,” while the nationalist Hellenic Solution party called it a direct threat of war.