NEWS

Ankara continues tough rhetoric

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Turkey, Defense, Diplomacy

Ankara is sticking to its tough rhetoric on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, with regard to energy, the possibility of resuming talks on the Cyprus issue, and Turkey’s so-called rights in the region.

A case in point was the statements made by Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar Monday after his five-day tour of occupied northern Cyprus, which included visits to Turkish army bases, the fenced-off city of Famagusta, the Yavuz drillship and the naval units that have encircled the island. To Nicosia, Akar’s remarks reflect Ankara’s effort to position itself ahead of a possible resumption of Cyprus talks.

“While discussing these issues everyone should be aware that Turkey is clearly a guarantor state under international law and that Britain, Greece and Turkey have important rights and responsibilities,” he reportedly told TRT in comments translated into Greek.

“We are watching all the developments closely. Everyone should know that we will fully protect both our rights and the rights of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (the Turkish-occupied part of the island),” he said.

He also insisted with regard to energy developments in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean that there is “no chance of survival for any decision” which does not involve Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

“Everyone should know that we will in no way allow the creation of faits accomplis,” he reiterated. Akar also revisited the Turkish notion of a “Blue Homeland” peddled by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which refers to a vast area of Turkish interests expanding across half of the East Mediterranean – including the continental shelves of Cyprus, Rhodes, Kastellorizo, Karpathos, Kasos and the eastern section of Crete.

“We have an area of 462,000 square kilometers that we call the Blue Homeland. We have rights here established by international agreement... We are determined to protect justice and our rights,” he reportedly said.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Sunday marking the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha, Erdogan referred to historic victories of the Turks over the Greeks and Arabs – including the victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 of the Seljuk Turks against the Byzantine Empire that led to the conquest of Anatolia.

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