Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday afternoon used a summit of southern EU leaders, along with the attending EU Commission president, to forcefully again charge that neighboring Turkey has developed into a regional trouble-maker.

Speaking at the end of a EUMED9 summit held in the Greek capital, he said the Athens Declaration, signed only a short time earlier, clearly opposes “hybrid threats”, such as exploiting and instrumentalizing migrants and using migration as pressure to achieve “other targets”.

With EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in attendance at a coastal Athens conference center, Mitsotakis called on Turkish leadership to abandon its aggressive actions vis-à-vis Cyprus, Greece and the entire region, adding that the Union’s relations with Ankara are clearly recorded in all EU Council conclusions, “now Mediterranean states are sending their own messages.”

In articulating a national Greek policy diametrically opposite to what transpired in 2015, under the preceding leftist Tsipras government, Mitsotakis said the images of uncontrolled flows of migrants landing on a handful of Greek isles after disembarking from Turkey will not be repeated.

At this point, he said closer cooperation is needed with countries bordering with and close to Afghanistan, such as Turkey, in order to avoid a repeat of such phenomenon.

“…our fundamental priority is security and stability under international law and the (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea. This also applies to Turkey, which must abandon illegal actions against Cyprus and Greece,” he added.

In beginning his address, Mitsotakis said the host city for the summit, Athens, is the place where democracy was born, and democracy must now “face the challenges of authoritarianism and populism, and we must protect peace in the Mediterranean and its waters.”

“This summer’s catastrophic fires did not leave any Mediterranean country untouched, while northern countries were hit by deadly floods,” he said, adding:

“We are coordinating to protect our forests and seas, and we are seeking a stronger civil protection mechanism … we are also dealing with rising natural gas prices, as they have an impact on electricity rates in every country…There is no growth without social cohesion, as a steady pace is required in both the economy and in public health in the post-Covid era.”

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