Turkey is willing to reach a compromise with Greece as long as the latter is prepared to share in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.
“We say to Greece ‘we can reach an agreement’ as long as you are ready to compromise. Be ready to share in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber.
“However, if you continue to usurp the rights of Turkish Cypriots we will continue these steps,” Cavusoglu said, adding that it was up to Ankara to decide whether it will conduct energy exploration in the Aegean Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean or the Black Sea.
His comments came a day after Greece vehemently dismissed a claim by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that it has accepted the status quo Turkey wants in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that not only it has not done so, but it has, along with the international community, condemned Turkey’s illegal moves in the region.
“As we have repeatedly stressed, illegal actions produce no legal effect,” said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas, who denounced “moves that continue to undermine regional peace and security, creating, among other things, pretexts for the violation of the arms embargo in Libya and for the attempt to usurp the sovereign rights of countries in the region.”
”Unfortunately, in this, too, Turkey continues to be a minority of one,” he said.
Meanwhile on Thursday, a pair of Turkish F-16 fighter jets entered the Athens Flight Information region (FIR) without having previously submitted a flight plan.
The aircraft flew over the small Aegean islands of Agathonissi, Arkioi, Lipsoi and Kinaros between 10.04 a.m. and 10.13 a.m.
In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were intercepted by Greek jets in line with international rules of engagement.