Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday used another remote island setting to send a message to neighboring Turkey, amid yet another round of perceived tension in the eastern Aegean.
After the small islet of Tilos, where he spent Orthodox Easter with his family last week, Tsipras and a large coterie of leftist SYRIZA party cadres and ministers landed on even remoter Kastellorizo on Tuesday, which lies just across from the southwest Asia Minor mainland and the Turkish resort town of Kas.
“We are not negotiating, bargaining or giving up an inch of land; from Kastellorizo to the Othoni islets (north of Corfu in the Ionian Sea) to Didymoticho (NE Greece) to Gavdos (another isle south of Crete),” the leftist prime minister said before television cameras and local residents.
He was on the island to inaugurate two desalination units. A wide-ranging conference will be held on Rhodes, a well-known holiday destination, this week on what the poll-trailing leftist-rightist coalition government promotes as regional growth initiatives and prospects.
He also called on Turkey’s leadership to abandon what he called its “provocative statements and interventions.”
In a dramatic departure from his rhetoric as a firebrand opposition leader before January 2015, where among others, he had expressed a view that there were no maritime borders, Tsipras on Tuesday warned that “this is a land the residents know how to defend. Greece threatens no one, nor does it fear anyone; Greece can defend its sovereign rights from one corner of the country to the other.”