NEWS

Turkish officials ramp up rhetoric against Greece ahead of German FM’s visit

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A close associate and adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused Greece of “undermining” efforts to ease tension between the two neighbors over East Mediterranean energy rights, just as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas heads to Athens and Ankara in a bid to restart high-level diplomatic talks between the two neighbors.

“After Greece’s EEZ agreement with Egypt, we could not act as though nothing had happened,” Ibrahim Kalin was quoted as telling Turkish daily Hurriyet in comments translated into Greek, referring to the recent maritime borders accord signed between Athens and Cairo, which Ankara disputes.

Kalin, who is one of the negotiators in a stalled three-way discussion being mediated by Berlin with Athens and Ankara to resume exploratory talks, also accused Greece of “maximalist demands.”

“Every so often, Greece brings up maximalist demands with regards to the islands. These must stop so that the political climate and conditions can become conducive to the resumption of dialogue once more,” Kalin reportedly said.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez also engaged in fiery rhetoric on Tuesday, accusing Greece of “ganging up” against Turkey “because it lacks credibility.”

“Our drillships continue their operations as planned. Our case is strong under international law. Greece gangs up with certain countries to seem right, because it lacks credibility,” Donmez was quoted by the website Turkeyinfo.net as telling Turkey’s A Haber television.