Athens warns Ankara to respect ‘red lines’

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) speaks during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on January 2, 2020. — AFP pic
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) speaks during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on January 2, 2020. — AFP pic

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ATHENS, Jan 3 — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has warned Turkey not to cross “red lines” following a controversial maritime jurisdiction accord between Ankara and Libya.

“We will not permit any Turkish activities that would infringe upon Greece’s sovereign rights,” Mitsotakis emphasised in an interview published today by Canadian daily The Globe and Mail in response to relations with Ankara.

Turkey has used an alliance with the internationally recognised Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) to advance its interests, some of which have prompted Greek concern.

Athens is especially worried about Ankara’s signing in November of a military cooperation agreement with the GNA and the inking of a maritime jurisdiction accord giving Turkey rights to large swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.

“We are ready to talk with all our neighbours, including of course Turkey. And if no agreement can be reached, we are even open to international jurisdiction,” Mitsotakis added.

He warned however that certain “red lines cannot be crossed by anyone.”

The Turkish-GNA agreement drew international criticism, especially from Greece which says the accord ignores its own claims in the area.

Relations between Greece and Turkey have historically been delicate, and Athens has in recent years accused its neighbour of allowing tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to reach Greek islands off the Turkish coast.

Ankara has responded by threatening to “open the gates” unless the international community backs its plan to establish a refugee safe zone inside Syria.

Turkish officials say their country is home to around five million refugees, among which 3.7 million are Syrians. — AFP

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