Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Wednesday that Ankara had decided to halt high-level talks with Greece amid rising tension between the rival neighbours.
Speaking to lawmakers of his ruling party, Erdogan said “We broke off our high-level strategy council meetings with Greece,” adding “Don’t you learn any lessons from history? Don’t try to dance with Turkiye.”
Last year, after a five-year hiatus, the two NATO countries resumed talks to resolve their disputes over mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea. However, the talks made little progress.
Last week, Erdogan said Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis “no longer exists” for him, after accusing the Greek leader of trying to block Turkiye’s acquisition of F-16 fighter planes.
On Tuesday, Mitsotakis told reporters, after an EU summit, that he had briefed his EU counterparts on Turkiye’s “aggressiveness” and “provocations that neither Greece nor the EU could tolerate”.
“I will not get into the game of personal insults,” he said.
For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Tuesday, that Greece is violating international agreements that define the status of the demilitarised islands in the Aegean Sea, warning that, unless Athens changes its approach, Ankara will challenge the status of the islands.
In turn, the Greek Foreign Ministry said that Cavusoglu’s statements “show that Turkiye threatens Athens”.
The Greek government plans to extend the current border fence with Turkiye, from 35 kilometres to 115 kilometres, in a bid to prevent migrants from crossing on foot.