Tsipras accuses Greek PM of not using ‘momentum’ to put pressure on Turkey

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis should push for a resolution of continental shelf and exclusive economic zone issues with Turkey through the international court at The Hague, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.

In an interview to Star Channel on the same day that the Greek and Turkish leaders met on the sidelines of a NATO Leaders Summit meeting, Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of not intending “to take advantage of the momentum, with Turkey being in a tight spot between economic developments domestically and a change in U.S. leadership.”

The main opposition leader said he had “low expectations of the meeting, even though it is their first private meeting” between the two leaders. Asked what he would do, he replied, “I would essentially not avoid taking big issues and the prospect of resolving our difference on the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone to The Hague, on the basis of International Law and clearly set red lines – the red line of the Lausanne Treaty, and the fact nobody can speak of grey zones.”

“The only thing that Mr. Mitsotakis could gain, in my opinion, is a summer moratorium, in order to avoid a repeat of last summer, where [Turkey] ended up conducting research six miles off our islands,” he added. 

Tsipras also criticised Turkey for its behaviour and for its demand of a revised customs union with the European Union. “If it succeeds in getting it without obligations to move towards resolving its differences with Greece on the basis of International Law, then we will be the losers.”

The neighbouring country pretends it wants to sit down for talks, “while it’s the one violating international treaties, behaving provocatively, occupying the northern part of Cyprus.”

(A version of this article was originally published by the Kathimerini newspaper and is reproduced by permission.)