Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that Athens wants good relations with Turkey, but that "there will be consequences" if Ankara chooses to escalate tensions.
In an interview with Ekathimerini on July 6, Mitsotakis said that "he is confident that the summer of 2021 will be quieter than the summer of 2020."
"If you’re asking me whether we have dealt with the structural causes of this tension, then, no, we have not solved our differences with Turkey all of a sudden. What we have done, though, is clearly laid out our positions," Mitsotakis said.
"We have explained to Turkey that we want a good relationship and that this would be in the interest of both countries and both peoples. If, however, Turkey chooses the path of escalated tension, there will be consequences," he noted.
Saying that Athens has "demonstrated in the field that certain practices are not acceptable," Mitsotakis noted that Greece "will never allow the weaponization of the refugee crisis" and a repeat of the events of March 2020.
"We built the fence at Evros. We have increased patrols in the Aegean, with absolute respect for human rights. Let me also be clear, though, that the Hellenic Coast Guard is not a refugee and migrant reception service. It is there to guard our borders. And in the event of danger, that anyone is endangered at sea, that person will be rescued, just as we’ve saved thousands of lives at sea," he said, although numerous human rights groups have proved that Greek authorities are violent towards refugees.
When asked whether there's regular communication between Turkey and Greece, Mitsotakis said, "Of course there’s communication."
"We talk to everyone. Why would Turkey be the exception? Of course we talk," the Greek PM said, adding that he would talk to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan if needed.
"Of course I would pick up the phone to talk to Erdoğan and I think he would do the same. Just as there are channels of communication at every level, from the exploratory contacts and the confidence building measures, to the relationship of the two [foreign] ministers, Mr. [Nikos] Dendias and Mr. [Mevlüt] Çavuşoğlu," he noted.