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Greek PM to Erdogan: 'Let's give diplomacy a chance'

Greece opposes neighbouring Turkey's energy exploration in disputed Mediterranean waters [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2020

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Prime Minister Mitsotakis remains 'optimistic' for a diplomatic solution with 'aggressive' Turkey.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed on Friday to Turkey to find a diplomatic solution to tensions, saying he hopes to build a partnership between the historic rival neighbours.

Mitsotakis accused Turkey of "aggression" with its recent search for energy resources in contested waters but said, "I remain an optimist".

"So let's meet, let's talk and let's seek a mutually acceptable solution. Let's give diplomacy a chance," Mitsotakis said to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an address to the virtual UN General Assembly.

"If after all we still cannot agree, then we should trust the wisdom of the International Court at The Hague," Mitsotakis said, reiterating an offer from Greece.

In a recorded message before the backdrop of the Acropolis, Mitsotakis pointed to the United Arab Emirates' recent recognition of Israel as a sign that Greece and Turkey can overcome historic animosity.

"I refuse to believe that partnership between near neighbors is not possible," Mitsotakis said.

Turkey last month sent a vessel backed by military frigates to hunt for oil and gas reserves in waters also claimed by Greece.

Greece responded with naval exercises as a warning and has enjoyed support within the European Union, especially from France.

The tone has recently softened with Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, agreeing Tuesday to begin exploratory talks on their dispute.

In his own address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Erdogan said that Turkey wanted to "settle disputes with sincere dialogue, based on international law and on an equitable basis".

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