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Akar criticizes Greece, says Turkey ready for talks ‘without preconditions’

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Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said his country is ready for a comprehensive dialogue with Greece “on all outstanding disputes” in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, “without preconditions.”

Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum which he joined via a video link from the Ministry of Defense in Ankara, Akar said that at the heart of the problems lie the irredentist foreign policy objectives of Greece and Cyprus which “violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.”

Akar attacked Greece for allegedly violating agreements on the demilitarized status of its Aegean islands close to the Turkish coast, while criticizing the country for claiming a 6-mile belt of territorial sea and a 10-mile column of airspace.

“This approach is exclusive to Greece. There is no other such example. This is where Greece bases its claims over the alleged airspace violations [by Turkish aircraft],” Akar said.

“Turkey is, in fact, not alone in recognizing Greece’s inconsistency,” he said, also reiterating Turkish claims that an island like Kastellorizo, only a couple of kilometres offshore from Turkey, should not be able to generate 40,000 square km of maritime jurisdiction.

“Such claims are neither realistic, nor fair, nor acceptable,” he said.