Greece denounces the temporary entry ban imposed on Turkey

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greece has strongly protested Turkey’s decision to refuse entry and detain a Greek regional governor who arrived by boat in Izmir to preside over the plenary session of a regional body.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, governor of Central Macedonia and first vice-president of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, said Turkish authorities had provided no reason for refusing him entry on Saturday and keeping him in a room for more than six o’clock.

“We unequivocally condemn the unacceptable and completely unjustified detention and entry ban imposed on the Governor of Central Macedonia by the Turkish authorities in Izmir,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

Eventually, after protests from Greece and the EU, Turkey lifted the entry ban, but Tzitzikostas decided to leave anyway and not attend the 13th Plenary Session of the Regional and Local Assembly Euro-Mediterranean, a body he chairs, on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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Greek-Turkish relations are going through a tense period, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkish officials making frequent belligerent statements. Erdogan has refused to speak to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, even though the two are NATO allies.

Greek officials attribute the heightened tensions to Erdogan facing a tough re-election next year amid Turkey’s severe economic difficulties.

“If we had 85% inflation in Greece, I would also try to change the subject,” Mitsotakis said this week.

Nellas reported from Athens, Greece

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