Many believed that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocations and fake news unleashed a few days earlier, would in his address to the UN General Assembly resort to the same tactics.
They believed that he, too, would show photographs to refute Erdogan’s fake news about the treatment refugees in the Aegean, thus inviting the international community to engage in an informal comparison between the two sides.
The Greek prime minister, however, opted for a different approach, reminding his international audience, with seriousness and without high-pitched tones, that Turkey’s effort to dispute Greek national sovereignty has its limits, and is a clear and inviolable red line.
He answered Turkey’s provocations with Greece’s logical arguments.
Mitsotakis explained the situation prevailing in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlined the example of Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
He drew a distinction between the Turkish government and the Turkish people, whom he chose to address directly, highlighting the importance of peace and harmonious co-existence, so that his message would reach Turkish society unfiltered, through the social media.
Erdogan attempted to depict Greece as a rogue state.
For his part, Mitsotakis demonstrated that the tensions in Greek-Turkish relations are not the product of a rooster fight, but rather of the Turkish leadership’s destabilising behaviour.
A country that knows how to respond to bullying also knows when to exhibit composure.
This diplomatic choice, which demonstrates that Greece does not fear and will not be baited by Turkey, was the most important legacy of Greece’s presence in New York.