Greece’s Prime Minister Discusses Tension With Turkey

Tensions have heightened between Greece and Turkey over oil exploration in the Mediterranean and reports of a crackdown on migrants seeking refuge in Greece. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis joins Christiane to discuss the state of his country.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I want to ask you how the tensions with Turkey, which also has a tourist season, how the tensions over — I guess it’s a dispute over claims to oil, claims to the territorial — to waters over there, how that’s affecting, you know, your coronavirus reaction and all the rest of it. What is going on between you and Turkey?

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE: Well, they’re two separate issues, Christiane. What we’ve experienced over the past year, at least, since I — since this government came into par was an increased level of provocation by Turkey on various fronts. So, what we saw essentially happening last week is not a one-off event. The recent disagreement with Turkey regarding the delimitation of our maritime results. And what we’ve told Turkey very openly is that we should discuss as civilized neighbors, and if we can’t resolve this issue, the two of us, we can always take it to the international court and have the international court decide on our behalf. But what we cannot tolerate is unilateral activity by Turkey claiming what we consider to be a Greek exclusive economic zone, and for Turkey to challenge this premise by sending not just an exploration ship but also a significant number of military vessels to the area. What these risks is a rapid escalation of tensions. We’ve had an incident last week where essentially two ships collided, and this is not exactly what we want to see in the area. We’ll, of course, always defend our sovereign rights, but we are never the ones who are actually seeking any escalation. So, my message to Turkey is very simple, stop the provocations and let’s start talking as civilized neighbors. We have just concluded a very important agreement with Egypt where we essentially debilitated our maritime zones. This is an agreement that could serve as a blueprint for other agreements in the region. But obviously, this cannot happen if we are engaged in sabre rattling and if we have to face, you know, every now and then half of the Turkish fleet sailing in the Aegean or the Easter Mediterranean. That is not the way to conduct foreign policy and — you know, if we at least want to support international law and promote good neighborly relations.

About This Episode EXPAND

Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez joins Christiane to discuss his party’s strategy. Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis gives an update the state of the pandemic in his country. Igor Leshchenya discusses unrest in Belarus. Former White House Ebola Response Coordinator explains why the U.S. needs a national strategy to fight COVID-19.