Athens responds to latest comments from Turkish FM

Athens responds to latest comments from Turkish FM

Athens on Tuesday responded to fresh provocations from Ankara, dismissing recent comments by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as serving a domestic political agenda as Turkey heads to general elections on May 14.

“Our positions are familiar. Our dispute is one. We will not allow domestic political confrontations in Turkey to be turned into a public dialogue between Greece and Turkey,” said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Arnaoutis when asked to comment on Cavusoglu’s statements.

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster TV 100 on Monday, the Turkish foreign minister had reiterated Ankara’s claim that the sovereignty of several Aegean islands remains disputed and took a swipe at Greece’s political leadership for marking the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“There are islets and islands in the Aegean whose sovereignty has not been determined. We justly claim that they belong to us and the Greeks claim they belong to them, which leads to tension,” Cavusoglu said.

He went on to slam Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos for statements made in remembrance of the “so-called” Armenian Genodice on Monday, saying they “had no business” to do so.

Cavusoglu’s latest comments are seen by Athens as part of a fresh escalation of tension from Ankara following a marked thaw in relations after the devastating February 6 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to tap into nationalist sentiment.

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