NEWS

Turkish FM: Taking sea dispute with Greece to International Court an open option

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is leaving open the option for Greece and Turkey jointly petitioning the International Court of Justice in Hague to delimit maritime zones, in an interview to Sunday newspaper “To Vima.”

“The option to take the matters of dispute between Turkey and Greece to the International Court of Justice was not discussed explicitly at the meeting between our President and Prime Minister Mitsotakis in London, as this is an issue for a later stage. We do not automatically recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and Greece has a reservation on Court’s jurisdiction on maritime boundary delimitation. Yet we are open to all options that are acceptable for both sides but we need to have a process of dialogue to reach such a mutually acceptable outcome.” Cavusoglu said.

"Apparently, Turkey is always on the front pages of the Greek press, while our positions deliberately being portrayed as “aggressive,” “hostile” and “irrational.” However, in Turkey, we do not harbor negative sentiments towards Greece, and the Turkish public opinion as well the press focus on facts, rather than propagating negative views," the Turkish Foreign Minister claimed.

Defending the memorandum of understanding between Turkey and the UN-recognized “Government of National Accord” in Tripoli, Libya delimiting the maritime borders of the two non-bordering countries in the Mediterranean, Cavusoglu said that “in our region there are complex problems for which every party has its own legal interpretation. Turkey from the outset has always endorsed a policy, seeking dialogue in addressing these problems. Unfortunately, our calls for dialogue have fallen on deaf ears. Most littoral countries of the East Mediterranean ignored our calls and chose to proceed unilaterally… As a matter of fact, it was only Libya that our calls for dialogue echoed in… Turkey, as it has done in the past, will continue to defend its rights and interests in the region.”

Also, the Turkish Foreign Minister said the internationally recognized – except by Turkey – Cyprus government is responsible for the stagnation of the Cyprus issue because the Greek Cypriots refuse to recognize the political equality of Turkish Cypriots.

“The answer to [the] question [of why there is no settlement in Cyprus] is simple: There is a lack of political will on the Greek Cypriot side… No matter what they claim, the Greek Cypriot side does not want to share the power and the wealth with the Turkish Cypriots. Instead, they prefer to see them as a minority within their unitary state,” Cavusoglu said.