Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that both Athens and Ankara must begin a candid discussion to resolve their differences and refrain from actions that will escalate tensions.
In an interview to Kathimerini’s Cyprus edition, Cavusoglu said Ankara believes Greece’s new government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will create favorable conditions to smooth out relations between the two countries.
He said he knows Mitsotakis personally and is “friends” with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. As a result, “a discussion of all the issues is possible.”
He said that despite the disagreements over the Aegean and Cyprus the two countries developed ties in other fields, in spite of the “provocative” behavior of Greece’s former defense minister, Panos Kammenos.
“I never met him, but according to [former foreign minister Nikos] Kotzias he was good but spoiled,” Cavusoglu said of Kammenos.
Cavusoglu’s interview was held on September 9 in the Turkish occupied region of Famagusta in Cyprus on the day he visited the fenced-off town of Varosha, which Turkey says it plans to develop.
The area was abandoned by its Greek-Cypriot residents during the Turkish invasion of 1974 and has remained a ghost town ever since.
With regard to Turkey’s drilling activities within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Cavusoglu stressed that Ankara will continue until the rights of the Turkish Cypriots to the island’s hydrocarbon reserves are secured.
Turkey has accused Nicosia of acting unilaterally regarding the exploitation of Cyprus’ gas reserves at the expense of the Turkish-Cypriot community in the occupied north.
“We will get nowhere with unilateral actions that trample on the rights of Turkish Cypriots,” he said.