NEWS

Ankara slams ‘axis of malice’ led by France

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Ankara on Tuesday described the bloc comprising Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an attempt to create an “axis of malice” led by France.

The designation was given during comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, who lambasted a declaration on Monday by the foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the UAE slamming “ongoing Turkish illegal activities” in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its involvement in the Libya crisis.

Aksoy said the joint declaration “is a case in point of the hypocrisy of a group of countries who are seeking regional chaos and instability through the policies they pursue and seeing no harm in sacrificing the democratic aspirations of the peoples to the callous aggression of putschist dictators, and which have fallen into a delirium, as their agendas are being disrupted by Turkey.”

A day earlier Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had lashed out against Greek and Armenian lobbies active in the international arena, calling them “evil powers.”

Meanwhile, the fate of the 6th century Hagia Sophia, a former church in Istanbul which is now a museum, came to the forefront again on Tuesday with a tweet by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, who hinted that it should be converted into a mosque, reiterating calls to that effect by high-ranking Turkish officials in recent months, to the chagrin of Greece.

The church was the main seat of the Greek Orthodox Church until it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the city then known as Constantinople in 1453. The structure was turned into a museum in 1935. Hagia Sophia is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.