Greek PM wants channels with Turkey open despite 'unacceptable' comments

Greece and Turkey have been at odds for many years over many issues including overflights in the Aegean Sea and divided Cyprus.

GREEK PRIME Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a press briefing in Jerusalem last week. (photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
GREEK PRIME Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a press briefing in Jerusalem last week.
(photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday that Athens would try to keep communication channels with Ankara open despite recent "unacceptable" comments from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

The two countries - North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies but historic foes - have been at odds for decades over a range of issues including where their continental shelves start and end, overflights in the Aegean Sea, the status of demilitarized islands and divided Cyprus.

Erdogan has accused Greece of occupying demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea, saying Turkey was ready to "do what is necessary" when the time came.

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"I consider recent statements by the Turkish president unacceptable," Mitsotakis told a news conference in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

A Turkish soldier waves a flag on Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria. (credit: REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI/FILE PHOTO)A Turkish soldier waves a flag on Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria. (credit: REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI/FILE PHOTO)

"However, we will always try to keep communication channels open," he said, adding he has been always willing to meet Erdogan.

The European Union last week voiced concern over Erdogan's statements, while Greece sent letters to NATO and the United Nations, complaining over what it called "inflammatory" comments.

According to Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency, Ankara has also sent letters to the European Union, NATO and the United Nations explaining its stance on the issues dividing the two countries.