Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Cyprus on Friday where he promoted a message of dialing down tensions, amid the backdrop of increasingly sharp rhetoric emanating from Ankara.

President Nicos Anastasiades hosted his Greek counterpart at the presidential palace, with Mitsotakis telling reporters after the meeting that international law, alliances and the EU form the shield of protection for both Greece and Cyprus.

For his part, Anastasiades praised Athens’ handling of the “revisionist stance” expressed by some – referring to Turkey. He further expressed his certainty that upcoming EU-Nato meetings will lead to messages of strong condemnation against actions which call into question the territorial integrity of Greece and Cyprus.

In a push towards diplomacy, Mitsotakis said he wants the channels of communications with Turkey to remain open, stating that: “I believe that this approach is the correct one and that we will quickly come back to calmer waters… It is my view and always has been that even at the most difficult of times they should never close.”

He further reiterated that international law is on Greece’s side, amid accusations made by Turkey that Athens is not abiding by international treaties. Ankara claims that Greece is arming islands in the Aegean Sea, but Athens has dismissed those assertions as unfounded.

Elsewhere, Anastasiades thanked Greece for gifting a plane to Cyprus for ministers and the president to carry out visits as part of their official duties.

A government press release earlier stated that they will discuss Turkey’s “provocations and aggressive rhetoric” against Cyprus, as well as its claims for a two-state solution to the island’s frozen conflict.

Later in the day, Mitsotakis attended a lunch hosted by Disy leader and presidential candidate Averof Neophytou. The Greek leader will further meet with the committee of occupied municipalities, and at night will address a Disy party conference.

Greece itself is in the midst of heightened tensions with its Nato neighbour, with a series of apparent threats sinking their ties to the lowest point in years. For his part, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is furious with Mitsotakis’ address to US officials earlier this year, mentioning the Cyprus problem and later being accused of trying to block F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

That led to Erdogan severing ties with Mitsotakis, saying that Greece’s leader “no longer exists” for him.