Reverting to its tactic of incendiary rhetoric, Turkey accused Greece on Wednesday of “provocations” and creating tensions. More specifically, shortly before his departure from Libya on Wednesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Greece with its behavior is deepening the crisis and the tension. Greece, he added, is disrespecting international legality.
“There is also threatening rhetoric. No matter how many provocative actions you take, no matter how many wrong Navtexes (navigational notices) you publish, no matter how many collaborations and armaments programs you do, what you say makes no sense,” he said, adding that Greece’s “requests should be reasonable, otherwise, as we have stated, there is no way to resolve them.”
Akar also expressed his annoyance at the involvement of Brussels, but also of the US, in the Eastern Mediterranean, urging them to keep out of Greek-Turkish differences.
“We want third parties to be objective in matters related to our neighbors. I expect them to be reasonable. I tell them not to turn the problems between Turkey and Greece into problems with the EU. And with the US, by no means,” he said, stressing that Turkey will not allow its rights to be violated.
He also reiterated Ankara’s position in favor of “two sovereign states” in Cyprus, stressing that the island “is a national issue for Turkey.”
Also on Wednesday, Turkey once again accused Greece of violating the rights of its Muslim minority in the north of the country.
After a visit to the port city of Thessaloniki and the northern province of Thrace during which he met with people he described as “representatives of the Turkish community,” Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran accused Greek authorities in a tweet of curbing the religious and linguistic freedoms of the Muslim population there.
“We stand next to our ethnic kin who preserve their identity and religion despite the difficulties,” he said.