Athens sends double message to Ankara – PM: Greece ready for dialogue and to defend interests, as Turkish FM issues threats over terror claims

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated Thursday that Greece is ready for dialogue with Turkey but also ready to defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights.

Speaking during a teleconference with Greek ambassadors around the world, which occurred for the first time, he said that “Greece’s readiness for dialogue is based on international legitimacy.” At the same time, he also noted Greece’s readiness to defend its rights as indicated by the recent agreements with countries in the region, such as Italy and Egypt, the tripartite alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean, the deepening of relations with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as defense agreements with France and the US.

Mitsotakis stressed the importance of keeping the channels of communication with Turkey open “at all levels,” while noting that Greece seeks to intensify contacts on issues of the so-called “positive agenda,” where cooperation can be mutually beneficial.

The teleconference was aimed at improving coordination between the government and the heads of diplomatic authorities to better promote national goals and positions. Mitsotakis reportedly intends to establish this communication at the highest level on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Greece and Cyprus Thursday of harboring terrorist groups targeting his country.

Citing reports in the Turkish media, Cavusoglu said Cyprus had given permission to the Syrian Kurdish PYD party to open a representative office in capital Nicosia.

Ankara regards the PYD group as terrorists, citing their links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Cavusoglu warned Cyprus it would pay a heavy price in the event of a PYD attack against Turkey or Turkish Cypriots.

“They should not play with fire,” he said.

Furthermore, the Turkish foreign minister accused Greece of providing shelter to members of the PKK and ​​the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a Marxist organization.

Cavusoglu further accused Greece of supporting the FETO movement around US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, which has been accused of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Athens has denied similar allegations in the past.