A highly unusual online exchange has taken place on Twitter between the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey before the former deleted his tweets – but only from the English version of his account.
The official English-speaking account of Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras posted four tweets addressed to his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, goading him about Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet and Turkey’s violations of Greek airspace.
“To Prime Minister Davutoglu: Fortunately our pilots are not mercurial as yours against the Russians #EuTurkey” Tsipras tweeted.
— Stratos Safioleas (@stratosathens) November 29, 2015
Davutoglu chose to respond to only the first tweet and not engage in a detailed dialogue.
“Comments on pilots by @atsipras seem hardly in tune with the spirit of the day. Alexis: let us focus on our positive agenda,” @Ahmet_Davutoglu responded.
Comments on pilots by @atsipras seem hardly in tune with the spirit of the day. Alexis: let us focus on our positive agenda.
— Ahmet Davutoğlu (@Ahmet_Davutoglu) November 29, 2015
The tweets quickly sparked a vigorous reaction on Twitter, with many condemning Tsipras engaging in dialogue in this manner, but a few defending him.
“Tsipras showing off his twitter ‘diplomacy’ skills,” said a user calling himself The Greek Analyst.
Tonight’s twitter shenanigans by #Tsipras only point towards diplomatic amateurism & lack of foreign policy direction. There’s no plan.
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) November 29, 2015
“Much as I’m increasingly critical of Tsipras lately, remarkable Twitter diplomacy,” countered another user.
Then, the @Tsipras_EU account deleted the four tweets, which have remained posted, however, in Tsipras’ Greek language account, @atsipras.
The deletion sparked further furious tweeting, with comments such as “who is handling your account?” being the most common.
A last Tsipras tweet obliquely referred to the deleted ones:
“We are in the same neighborhood and we have to talk honestly so we can reach solutions #EUTurkey.”