Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ presence at the German Council on Foreign Relations

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: “As Prime Minister of Greece I do not accept lessons from Turkey on human rights issues.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attended one of Germany’s largest think tanks, the German Council on Foreign Relations, on Monday afternoon. The Prime Minister participated in a dialogue panel and answered questions from the public and members of the body that participated in the debate.
The issue covered was the recovery of Greece, not only in economic terms, but also in terms of the country’s role in European and the world.
“We have been through a crisis on a double front for 10 years,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis claimed, separating the previous decade in the period before and after 2015. “Greece today, despite the difficulties, comes out of the crisis with a strong one-party government, a feat that cannot be considered self-evident for other European countries in our days,” the Prime Minister stressed.
“I am not one of those who pay too much attention to polls (…) but we have to note that the government acceptance rates today are higher than those when we assumed power – and it has already been eight months,” he said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the government’s firm position – that alongside reforms-should provide the required budget space – is now even more important given the challenges caused by the coronavirus. “From an economic point of view, we may need to revise our fiscal targets for 2020,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, stressing however that the key concern is to secure support for the public health system.
“We have made the right decision to protect the Greek and European borders,” the Prime Minister claimed, referring to the latest events, underlying the change in terms of policy on this issue, compared to the previous Government. “We’ve had many sleepless nights recently,” he added, and thanked those involved.
“We faced an asymmetric threat. Many of those found at the border either received orders or were forced to go there,” the Prime Minister argued.
“Why do we spend so much on defence? Because our neighbour is Turkey, not Denmark. We need a strong deterrent. That’s why we spend so much on military equipment. I would rather spend 1%. Unfortunately, Turkey is not Denmark,” he said to the audience.
“I have always been in favour of open channels of communication with Turkey, despite the fact that Turkey’s recent decisions, particularly the signing of the Agreement with Libya, have been particularly challenging for Greece. We have a fundamental dispute with Turkey over maritime zones. We are willing to consider all options, including the recourse to International Jurisdiction.”
“What has happened in the last ten days has made the relations between the two countries more difficult. That is why Turkey needs to de-escalate,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis added, and concluded by stressing that Greece keeps the channels of communication open.
“We are destined to live together, but not under conditions of blackmail, like the ones Turkey tried to impose on Greece and also on the EU. We were never the ones to initiate hostilities, but we will respond with force to any challenge.”
“As Prime Minister of Greece, I do not accept lessons on human rights issues from Turkey,” he emphasised and expressed his regret on the fake news spread by Turkey in an organised way. K. Mitsotakis emphasised that the Greek authorities have shown restraint and publicly thanked the Port Authorities for saving tens of thousands of lives from 2015 until today.
“We had to be present at the Berlin conference on Libya. We are dissatisfied with the fact that we were not invited to join,” the Prime Minister added shortly afterwards, when asked on the matter. “The Sharjah government has signed an agreement with Libya that is completely invalid and violates fundamental sovereign rights of Greece. Developments in Libya concern Greece.”
The Prime Minister was welcomed by the President of the German Council on Foreign Relations, Dr Thomas Enders and the Director General, Dr Daniela Schwarzer.