South European countries require respect for the international law from every nation, and it is time for Turkey to revise its aggressive behavior toward Greece and Cyprus, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday after the EUMED 9 Summit.
The summit in Athens was attended by presidents and prime ministers of Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain.
“Security and stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea remains the fundamental priority of us all. Always on the basis of international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea that our countries have signed and honour. They not only demand the implementation of this Convention, they also guarantee it. This concerns all countries, including neighboring Turkey. It is time for Turkey to abandon its aggressive behaviour towards Cyprus, Greece and the region as a whole,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister also said that the European borders must be protected, and “cooperation with countries that are closer to Afghanistan, like Turkey, so that refugees can stay closer to their homes.”
Mitsotakis emphasized that the scenario of the migration crisis in 2015, when the influx of migrants to the European Union was uncontrolled, must not happen again.
Cyprus, populated by Greek and Turkish Cypriots, has been a stumbling block for Turkey and Greece for almost half a century. The island was de facto divided in 1974, when Turkey deployed armed forces to Cyprus after an attempt to unify Cyprus with Greece. In 1983, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was formed, recognized solely by Turkey.
Currently, the negotiations between Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom under the guidance of the United Nations are periodically held to decide whether Cyprus will be a bizonal, bicommunal federation or a two-state island.