Turkish FM accuses Athens of shirking dialogue

Turkish FM accuses Athens of shirking dialogue

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed accusations that Ankara is unwilling to seek a solution through talks with Greece, saying that the Greek prime minister needs to “look in the mirror and ask himself where he went wrong.”

Speaking to Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung on Sunday, Cavusoglu said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had “wanted” dialogue with the Greek government when it was elected last July, but Athens has been “unwilling” to engage in talks.

“Instead of working…. against us, it should be talking to us,” Cavusoglu said in translated comments, pointing to efforts by Greece to secure exclusive economic zone agreements with its neighbors and, in an allusion to Ankara’s drilling plans off the coast of Cyprus, accusing Athens of colluding with France and the European Union to Turkey’s exclusion.

“Athens’ efforts to exclude us are in vain,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey will defend its rights and those of the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus.

Asked what Turkey’s response would be to efforts by Greece to prevent exploratory drilling for hydrocarbon deposits in the eastern Mediterranean following Ankara’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli, Cavusoglu said: “Let them try.”

“No one will dare stop our drill ships… if they want an escalation, we will respond,” he added.

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