Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will attend on 17-18 October one of the most crucial EU summits in recent years.
The summit will address the Brexit issue, Turkey’s invasion of Syria and its repercussions on the migration crisis and so many other issues, and Ankara’s illegal drilling for hydrocarbons around Cyprus and in the Southeastern Mediterranean which violates Cyprus’ sovereign rights even as Turkey threatens Greece’s sovereign rights in the Aegean.
The confluence of events is a great challenge for Mitsotakis.
It is the first time as PM that he will have to handle a major almost existential European issue and to take a stand and pose demands for the EU to take a stand on Greek national issues concerning decades’ long issue with Turkey.
Hence, this EU summit is exceptionally crucial.
Given the situation and the confluence of events Mitsotakis cannot be a mere observer at his first summit.
He must rise to the occasion as the leader of a country which is in the centre of a cauldron that tests everyone’s limits.
Mitsotakis must be prepared to present Greece’s positions, proposals and demands to the summit.
Those positions must express trust in the European project but also declare the autonomy that springs from Greece’s distinct role in the region and the threats it faces from a tough and ruthless Turkey which is prepared for anything and has no compunction about violating international law and its commitments.
Mitsotakis must say that Greece demands solidarity in confronting Turkey’s arbitrary, hostile, and erratic behavior and its revisionist policies.
Erdogan’s invasion of Syria and his illegal claims in the Aegean and Cyprus are destabilising the region and creating a general instability that can well lead to a new refugee crisis and Greece’s European partners cannot hide behind an embattled Greece and treat it as a mere holding ground for the refugees of the Middle East crisis.
Mitsotakis must make this perfectly clear in every way.
That is the only way he can gain what he demands and become recognised as the leader of a country that is struggling, fighting and not compromising his country’s position and views as many believe.
This is Mr. MItsotaki’s duty and opportunity.
This is also the time to transcend commonplace positions that Greek leaders are small, weak and pliant in response to the demands of the current crisis.