Ankara still favors dialogue despite Athens’ moves to the contrary: Akar

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Despite Greece’s measures against Turkey, Ankara is maintaining its calls for dialogue and negotiation, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the recent Greek aggression in his speech at the 13th Conference of Ambassadors in the capital Ankara, Akar said: “There are actions and speeches that are contrary to reason and logic. Enmity towards Turkey is gaining prominence in Greece. They speak against Turkey. to cover their own weaknesses.”

The minister said Greece has been harassing Turkey’s rights with its practices, rhetoric and actions for decades. “Despite this, Turkey is in favor of resolving these issues through dialogue and diplomacy, but could not get the necessary response from Greece in this regard,” he said.

Akar said there had been a lot of fake news against Turkey in the Greek media and added: “They took the photos and videos of our exercise years ago, and they show them in the newspapers and Greek television. “The Turks are getting ready for the attack. Nothing like that…I mean, there’s such an obsession, consciously or unconsciously, that also needs to end.”

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also commented on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea on Monday, stressing that Turkey wants “interconnected issues” to be addressed and resolved “holistically and comprehensively in accordance with international law”.

“Greece, however, does not have the will to solve (these) problems,” he said.

Turkey ended the joint mechanism with Greece following hostile remarks by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the country’s inconsistent stance on dialogue efforts.

In May, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Mitsotakis “no longer exists” for him after the latter’s comments and criticism of Türkiye during his recent trip to the United States. Erdoğan said Mitsotakis spoke out against Türkiye and urged the US Congress not to allow the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

Ankara also said Athens must start disarming the demilitarized Aegean islands.

Turkey and Greece are at odds over a number of issues, including competing claims over jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean, airspace, energy, the ethnically divided island of Cyprus and the status of the islands in the sea. Aegean.

Turkey is demanding that Greece demilitarize its eastern islands, now that action is required under 20th-century treaties that ceded sovereignty of the islands to Greece.

The Greek government calls the request a deliberate misinterpretation and has accused Türkiye, another NATO member, of stepping up hostile actions in the region.

A dispute over rights to drill potential oil and gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean led to a tense naval standoff in the summer of 2020. Greece has since embarked on a major military modernization program.

But the two countries are also cooperating on energy projects, including a newly built pipeline that carries natural gas from Azerbaijan to Western Europe. The pipeline, which crosses Turkey and Greece, is part of Europe’s efforts to reduce Russian energy dependence.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, pointing out that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding issues in the region through international law, good-neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations.

Officials from the two countries resumed exploratory talks in 2021 after a five-year hiatus to lay the groundwork for launching formal negotiations, but have not made much progress.

National defense is vast and cannot be established by military means alone, the Turkish defense chief also said, explaining: “There is economic security, there is cultural economy and there is cultural security. “.

Addressing Turkish envoys, Akar said Turkey aims to protect its borders from terrorist organizations through its cross-border operations and stressed that “we have no interest in anyone’s land”.

Recalling the agreements that Türkiye signed with Russia and the United States on the elimination of terrorists from northern Syria, Akar said: “Although we have assumed and fulfilled all the responsibilities on our part, our interlocutors do not did not keep their promises.

Regarding NATO, the defense chief said that Turkey fully fulfills its duties in NATO and expects the same from the 30-member military alliance.

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