Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday accused Greece of undermining talks on confidence-building measures (CBM) between the two Aegean rivals, adding that his country wants to defuse tensions through dialogue.
“Not only does Greece not want to hold these talks, it also tries to prevent them from happening and sabotages them,” Akar said during a visit to TCG Anadoly, the future flagship of the Turkish navy, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
Greece froze plans for a next round of CBM talks with Turkey in April last year following a barrage of Turkish overflights in the eastern Aegean.
Akar meanwhile accused officials in Athens of deliberately increasing tensions with Ankara in a bid to deflect public attention from problems at home.
“There are many scandals in Greece right now. There is the wiretapping scandal, migration scandal, and corruption,” he said, according to Anadolu.
Turkey’s defense minister also cautioned Greece against presenting bilateral disputes as “issues related to NATO, the US and the EU.”
“Everyone is now aware of [Greece’s] tricks. We consider and expect everyone to be more cautious in this regard,” he was quoted as saying.
Akar stressed that Turkey remains committed to dialogue and peace in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.
“Turkey is not a threat to anyone; [It] is a reliable, strong, and effective ally,” he was quoted as saying.