Greece has asked the European Commission to consider suspending a customs union agreement between Turkey and the European Union due to Ankara’s “continued provocations." Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Commission should consider the full suspension of the customs union “as a message of disapproval for Turkey's ongoing illegal behavior" against the EU.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Oct. 5 discussed efforts to defuse tension between Turkey and Greece over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. After Turkey, Stoltenberg will visit Greece to meet the country’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
So far, the mutual “controlled crisis escalation” policy of Athens and Ankara has somehow worked. It has “worked” in the sense that there has been no war, but tensions have risen higher and higher. But what if things get out of control within this “controlled crisis escalation” policy?
Just as “détente” seemed to be in the cards for Turkey and Greece, things soured once more. And they soured big time.
A Greek court has released two Kurdish journalists detained in Athens. Both Kaplan and Mordeniz were detained despite having press cards, news portal Gazete Karınca reported on Aug. 9, adding that the journalists were taken to Acropolis police headquarters.
Church bells across Greece tolled in mourning on July 24 as the first Islamic prayers in nine decades were held at Hagia Sophia in Turkey, marking the monument's conversion into a mosque. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Turkey a "troublemaker," and the Hagia Sophia conversion an "affront to civilisation of the 21st century."
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Athens urged European Union (EU) states to have "crippling sanctions" against Ankara ready in case the latter continues drilling in waters claimed by Greece.
Greek governor wants mosque restoration works on Lesbos to be stopped after Turkey’s Hagia Sophia move
A regional Greek governor has said that Greece cannot stay indifferent to Turkey's Hagia Sophia move and demanded that ongoing restoration works at the historical Valide Mosque on Lesbos island be stopped. The 17th-century Valide Mosque is being restored under a 1.2 million euro grant from the EU regional development fund for the Aegean islands.
The European Union wants to rebuild trust with Turkey, its top diplomat said on June 24. "I think we have to stand by our interest(s) and to engage on re-establishing trust," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said during a visit with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to a border region Greece shares with Turkey. "It is very clear we are determined to protect the external border of the European Union and to strongly support Greek sovereignty," Borrell said.
Greek Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos has said that a dialogue with Ankara is currently impossible as Athens is either being blackmailed or its sovereign rights are being challenged. “Greece insists on complying with the rules of international law, while Turkey is acting like a regional troublemaker and bully,” Panagiotopoulos said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on Turkey "to not act as the neighborhood bully," as he commented on Ankara's energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. "Turkey is welcome to give up on its imperialistic pipeline dreams and cooperate with us as an equal and law-abiding partners – not as the neighborhood bully," he said.
The Eastern Mediterranean remains a “hot spot," but neither Greece nor Turkey wants a “hot incident," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' Deputy National Security Advisor Thanos Dokos said.
Turkey warns Greece to be careful against ‘bad jokes’ after Athens expresses ‘readiness for military conflict’
The Turkish government has commented on Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos' statement from last week expressing "readiness for military conflict with Turkey." "Do not make such bad jokes, this type of joke will stick on your forehead," ruling AKP spokesman Ömer Çelik said on June 8.
Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has not ruled out the possibility of a "military conflict" with Turkey, saying that his country is ready for any scenario to defend its rights. "We do not want to go there, but we want to make it clear that we will do whatever it takes to defend our sovereign rights to the fullest extent possible,” Panagiotopoulos said on June 4.
It’s a spring day in Athens. Over 120 Greek musicians and performers gather on the steps of the southern slope of the Acropolis to sing in Turkish. They gathered to express their solidarity with the Turkish protest band Grup Yorum.