Despite Türkiye’s efforts to ease tensions in the region, Greece is continuing its “provocative actions”, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, calling on Athens for “two-faced” diplomacy.
“Despite all our well-meaning efforts, unfortunately our neighbor Greece continues to escalate the tension with provocative actions and rhetoric every time. We are doing our best to prevent this,” Akar told reporters in the capital on Monday. Ankara.
His remarks came after two Greek coastguard boats opened fire on a ro-ro vessel 11 miles off the island of Bozcaada in northwest Turkey on Saturday.
An “Anatolian” ship flying the Comorian flag with 18 crew members – six Egyptians, four Somalis, five Azerbaijanis and three Turkish nationals – was attacked while sailing in international waters.
“Right after this (incident), Greek politicians accused Türkiye of aggression. What is that, if not hypocrisy? That’s why we ask that they don’t have a mirror in their house? If they look in the mirror, they will see the truth, and maybe they will be ashamed,” Akar said.
He stressed that Greece does its best to “exploit and distort” every event, to influence third parties with “lies and slander” and to complain about Turkey to third parties, adding: “In this sense, it is not wrong to say that a two-sided policy is followed.There is a two-sided policy.
Akar said Türkiye calls for dialogue to resolve bilateral issues peacefully.
Türkiye, a NATO member for more than 70 years, has complained about Greece’s repeated provocative actions and rhetoric in the region in recent months, including the arming of islands near Turkey’s coast that are demilitarized under a treaty, claiming that such actions frustrate his good faith efforts. for peace.
Akar reiterated that Greece had harassed the Turkish planes by putting radar locks, saying: “This is a hostile attitude, … they are showing hostile behavior. This is unacceptable. This is great hypocrisy. This must be seen.”
Turkish jets engaged in NATO missions over the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean on August 23 were harassed by a Russian-made S-300 air defense system stationed on the Greek island of Crete.
Do not embark on new adventures
“We call for peace, good neighborly relations, international law, and we want to cooperate on these issues. We want the Aegean to be a sea of peace, but unfortunately we cannot find an answer to that.” , he added. .
Akar said Greece had armed the islands in violation of international law. “Your airspace is what your territorial waters are. They say, ‘No, our territorial waters are 6 miles, our airspace is 10 miles. The strangest thing in the world. It cannot be understood. No sane person will accept that,” he said.
Akar reiterated his call to come together around a table to address bilateral issues, adding, “We say, ‘Come whenever you want, or let us come’. We call for dialogue, and they leave that aside and say, “Turkey is expansionist and aggressive. They are the two who fired on the ship and did not come to dialogue.”
“We say: learn from history. Don’t embark on new adventures. Some may say something in your ear. You have seen in history that it is not valid. Do not repeat the same thing. Be smart,” the minister warned. .
Akar added that Turkey is determined to protect the rights and interests of the country and the Turkish Cypriots in the Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and on the island of Cyprus.
Asked about the Lavrion camp in Greece, Akar said: “They hide terrorists from FETO, PKK/YPG, Daesh, DHKP-C in Lavrion, they harbor them. all this is seen, they pretend that it does not exist, with great negligence, hypocrisy, it is impossible to understand this.