Europe, Türkiye have common interest in de-escalating war in Gaza: Greek premier

Greece
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 7:08 GMT
Kyriakos Mitsotakis says despite differences with Turkish President Erdogan over Hamas, dialogue is important to de-escalate war in Gaza.
Europe, Türkiye have common interest in de-escalating war in Gaza: Greek premier

Kyriakos Mitsotakis says despite differences with Turkish President Erdogan over Hamas, dialogue is important to de-escalate war in Gaza.

Europe and Türkiye have a common interest in de-escalating the war in Gaza, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday.

Delivering a speech at a think-tank in the German capital Berlin, Mitsotakis underlined the importance of closer dialogue between European countries and Türkiye to address current issues.

He said he is planning to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Greece in the coming weeks to discuss bilateral ties and regional issues.

“I completely disagree with comments of President Erdogan regarding Hamas. At the same point, this is no reason not to welcome President Erdogan in Greece,” he said at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Erdogan was criticized by European politicians for his comments after he said the Palestinian group Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a group of people fighting for their homeland.

“At the end of the day, in spite of what President Erdogan said about Hamas, I think we all have an interest in making sure that this conflict does not escalate beyond the horrible situation we already have to address,” Mitsotakis said.

“For Türkiye also, it has the same interest. No one wants to see a further escalation of the conflict,” he added.

Mitsotakis said that during his upcoming meeting with President Erdogan, they will also discuss normalization of bilateral relations, EU-Türkiye relations and cooperation to stem irregular migration.

Speaking at the same panel discussion, Friedrich Merz, the leader of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said he shares Mitsotakis’ view and supports dialogue with Erdogan.

“It is obvious that a meeting between our German Chancellor (Olaf Scholz) and the president of Türkiye makes sense,” he said, referring to President Erdogan’s planned visit to Berlin on Friday.

“It would make no sense to ask him not to come to Germany. This is the right time to speak,” he added.

Erdogan’s planned visit was criticized by various German politicians and media outlets following his sharp criticism of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. Several opposition politicians had called on Scholz to cancel his meeting with Erdogan.

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