NEWS

Ankara press conference has diplomats surprised

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Diplomats and journalists in Turkey expressed their surprise after a joint news conference Thursday between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu descended into an acrimonious exchange of accusations from both sides, Kathimerini understands.

“The mood of the talks was fine, in spite of disagreements,” a source from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the newspaper.

“During the press conference, we were keeping a moderate tone and discussing the issues in a broad way. However, Dendias began to bring up various issues, something that had not been planned,” the source said.

“We could not leave this unanswered; we had to express our positions,” the source said.

The view was echoed by Turkish diplomats and journalists that were present at the press conference.

The two ministers initially spoke about the need to maintain open channels of communication and strengthen economic cooperation. However, the press conference soon turned sour after Dendias accused Turkey of violating Greece’s sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, warning that Ankara would face European Union sanctions if the violations continue. This prompted Cavusoglu’s reaction who called Dendias’ remarks “unacceptable.”

Speaking to Kathimerini, Greek diplomats sought to play down the incident. They said that Dendias had not been particularly critical of Turkey, however adding that some issues had to be broached in public.

The atmosphere was said to be more cordial during the dinner.