Τhe Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was sent an unequivocal message by five former ministers and MPs of New Democracy, calling for him to take all appropriate measures so that the Turkish research ship Çeşme leaves the Aegean Sea immediately.

Moreover, the former New Democracy executives emphasized that “Greece’s participation in any form of consultation must be suspended”, adding that “no government has the right to concede even a speck of the lands and seas that our ancestors fought for with their own blood and sacrifices”.

The above statement was signed by Evangelos Antonaros, Christos Zois, Krinio Kanellopoulou, Aris Spiliotopoulos and Savvas Tsitouridis.

Their statement reads, as follows:

“The last few days, Turkey has been consciously and purposefully escalating its provocations against our country and is openly questioning, in an overtly revisionist way, our undisputed sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea.

The departure of the Çeşme research vessel in the heart of the Aegean Sea is not yet another expected incident that adds to Turkey’s increasingly provocative behavior. Çeşme is not an ordinary research vessel. She belongs to the Turkish navy. She’s accompanied by Turkish navy ships. She is wandering our seas – totally undisturbed, in fact – reaching even some hitherto “inaccessible” areas of the Western Aegean. Beyond any doubt, she is operating in the Greek continental shelf and EEZ.”

Lukewarm reactions, routine diplomatic protests, and statements by Greek officials that go: “Once again, Turkey…” have no chance of convincing Turkey to halt its provocations. On the contrary: They embolden Turkey, by sending it the wrong message that Greece is watching its delinquent behavior impassively and helplessly. That the current government either does not want to or is not able to react with the determination required in order to defend, as it has a duty, its national sovereignty with vigor and dignity.

This blatant attempt to preserve a climate of so-called peace, in order to proceed to the next round of exploratory talks, is leading towards a national defeat. As the country is celebrating its 200th anniversary of the National Palingenesis this year, no government, not even the current one, of course, has the right to concede even a speck of the lands and seas that our ancestors fought for with their own blood and sacrifices.

Our tolerance of passivity, silence, and so-called appeasement of Turkey has long been exhausted.

Now it is time for action and decisive initiatives.

The government must declare to Turkey, without hesitation, that the presence of its flotilla in the Greek seas is not acceptable. Turkey must withdraw it immediately. If Turkey refuses to comply, Çeşme’s route must be stopped by all appropriate means, imposed by national pride and recognized by the international community. Accordingly, Greece’s participation in any form of consultation must be suspended.

Meanwhile, Greece has an obligation to inform, friends, partners, and allies that the sole responsibility for the tension lies with Turkey, which ignores international law and tries to impose its own ambitions on a peaceful country like Greece. Simple statements of support, lacking in actual content, are not enough. We are asking them: Stop them now!

We do not seek conflict. We are not fascinated by war cries. We are in favor of dialogue, but a dialogue with rules, specific subjects, and absolute respect for international law. We do not claim, but neither do we concede anything.

If we deviate from this path now, we will bitterly regret it tomorrow. That is why today, not tomorrow, we must say a substantial ”NO” to Turkey’s assertive plans. “