Duvar English - Reuters
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sept. 11 that Athens would try to keep communication channels with Ankara open despite recent "unacceptable" comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Mitsotakis' comments came after Erdoğan accused Greece of occupying demilitarised islands in the Aegean Sea saying that Turkey was ready to "do what is necessary" when the time came.
"I consider recent statements by the Turkish president unacceptable," Mitsotakis told a news conference in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
"However, we will always try to keep communication channels open," he said, adding he has been always willing to meet Erdoğan.
Mitsotakis said that Erdoğan uses "nationalism" and Ankara has "increased tensions" before the upcoming general elections in Turkey.
"Contrary to Erdoğan's statements, it is Turkey that poses a threat to the (Aegean) islands," he added.
Turkey has recently been angered by what it said is harassment of its jets by Greek forces. Ankara has said that S-300 air defense systems used by Greece had locked on to Turkish jets during a routine flight.
As Erdoğan prepares for what is shaping up to be the biggest electoral challenge of his nearly 20-year rule in 2023, the president has played up achievements in the global stage. He has also stepped up his rhetoric on foreign policy.
Ankara says the Aegean islands were given to Greece under the 1923 and 1947 treaties on the condition that it does not arm them. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has repeatedly said Turkey would start questioning Greek sovereignty over the islands if Athens persisted in arming them.