ATHENS (Greece) — The prime minister of Greece said Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “turning moment” for Europe. He stressed that there must be no outcome that would encourage aggression by other countries on the continent.

Greece, which has long-standing differences with Turkey, a much larger country, that have brought them to war three times in half a century ago, has urged Ukraine to support its war against Russian invasion.

“The Battle of Ukraine is more than a mere international event. It is a turning moment in the course of Europe,” Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitchells stated in Strasbourg, France, during a speech to the European Parliament.

He stated that Ukraine owes it to him to prevent any kind of fait accompli that could be copied tomorrow by potential trouble-makers.

Mitsotakis stated that he was referring “to the constant aggressive behavior of Turkey,” which has caused tensions in relations with both countries over the past two decades. Both NATO members, the countries are involved in decades-old disputes over a variety of issues, including territorial claims to the Aegean Sea, and energy exploration rights in eastern Mediterranean.

Recent disputes have been focused on Greek islands off Turkey’s coast. Ankara has accused Athens that it maintains a military presence there, in violation of the treaties. Greece claims it is following international law and protecting its islands against Turkish hostility.

Mitsotakis stated that “One thing is certain, there are no new revisionism or the revival of imperial fantasies.” “And another fact is certain, Greece will not accept any questioning its territorial integrity and national sovereignty.”

According to the Greek prime minister, his country is “keeping its doors closed to threats and keeping our windows open for peaceful contacts.” Disputes between countries are settled based on international law and not bullying.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdan accused Greece of violating its Airspace. This is something that Greece often accuses Turkey to do to its own, but denies it violating Turkey’s.

Erdogan stated after Friday prayers that “we don’t have an argument like “let’s go war with Greece”, but that Greece was not keeping their word. He also accused Greece of violating Turkish airspace 147 more times.

“Ofcourse, if your intention is to violate our airspace in this manner, then we will take responsibility.” My air force will provide you with the required visuals. Erdogan stated that this is what our air force does. He added that “our armed forces do their duty” and that if there are airspace violations after, we will continue to perform our duty the same.

According to Erdogan, the Turkish president stated that leaders from many NATO countries tried to reconcile him with Mitsotakis. Erdogan stated that “we aren’t thinking that right now”, but would wait to see what happens in future and then evaluate it.


Zeynep Birginsoy contributed from Istanbul to this report.