Turkey donning the 'language of an aggressor': Greek PM
Greece decries, at the UNGA, Turkey's tone toward dealing with the Aegean Sea situation, alongside the division of Cyprus.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies but historic archenemies, Greece and Turkey, have had a long list of feuds regarding issues such as where their continental shelves start and end, energy resources, Aegean Sea aerospace, common demilitarized islands, and grave matters, such as divided Cyprus.
At the UNGA, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pointed fingers at Turkey for undermining peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region but simultaneously directed his speech to the Turkish people stating that Greece is not a threat to their country.
Mitsotakis also emphasized this month that he was adamant about keeping communication channels open with Turkey and that he did not oppose meeting his Turkish counterpart.
Mitsotakis said, "Turkey's leadership seems to have a strange fixation with my country. ... They threaten that Turkey will come at night, if it so decides. This is the language of an aggressor," adding, "From the UN I would like to address ... the Turkish people directly: Greece poses no threat to your country. We are not your enemies, we are neighbors, let us move forward."
Greece recently announced that Turkey is attempting to weaken the Greek sovereignty of the demilitarized islands and is abusing the migration issue and complained to NATO and the UN this month over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements labeling them as "inflammatory".
Erdogan's statements included accusations against Greece of "crimes against humanity," taking a jab at its treatment of migrants and its "occupation" of the demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea. Earlier this month, Erdogan issued a warning to Greece for violating Turkish airspace. He stated that Greece would pay a "heavy price" if it continued to "harass" Turkish jets over the Aegean, reminding them of the end of the Greek occupation after Turkish forces entered the city of Izmir (Smyrna in Greek) in the Aegean coast in 1922.
"Greece will not be bullied by anyone," Mitsotakis reiterated on Friday, adding that Cypriots have lived since 1974 on a split island as a result of an "illegal invasion" by Turkey.
Turkey has been constructing a military presence on the Aegean islands in violation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris, he said, adding that the islands were surrendered to Greece on the condition that they remain demilitarized.
During his speech, Mitsotakis also touched upon a separate matter concerning Greece's demand for the permanent restoration of the Parthenon marbles from the British Museum in London, which were removed from the Parthenon temple, a 5th-century BC architectural masterpiece. It was located in Athens in the early 19th century until it was taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin when the country was under Ottoman rule.
"No matter how long it will take, the Parthenon marbles will eventually be coming home," the conservative diplomat said.