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European Council sends stern message to Turkey, Ankara responds with Greek airspace violations

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis briefed the European partners on Turkey ‘s actions and the escalation of its aggressive rhetoric towards Greece on Thursday. The briefing took place at the European Council (EUCO) meeting on Thursday.

Mitsotakis reiterated that it is up to Turkey to de-escalate the tension.

According to government sources, the prime minister also referred to the statements made earlier by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay from the occupied territories in the north of Cyprus.

Οktay said on Thursday that “Turkey will challenge the sovereignty of Greek islands if they do not demilitarize.”  A standard warning by Ankara in the last few weeks.

In addition, he welcomed his counterparts’ support and the reference to the issue in the European Council Conclusions.

On the Eastern Mediterranean, the EUCO conclusions noted:

“The European Council expressed deep concern about recent repeated actions and statements by Turkey. Turkey must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU member states. Recalling its previous conclusions and the statement of 25 March 2021, the European Council expects Turkey to fully respect international law, to de-escalate tensions in the interest of regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to promote good neighbourly relations in a sustainable way.”

Turkey responded to the sharp EUCO message with 37 violations of Greek airspace by F-16 fighter jets, surveillance and other aircraft in the last couple of hours.

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