Turkey has criticized the regional Philia (Friendship) Forum that convened Thursday in Athens, describing it as “an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey.”
“It is not possible for any forum not including Turkey, the key country in its region, and Turkish Cypriots, to constitute an effective and successful mechanism of cooperation and friendship with regard to the challenges in the region,” said a statement by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy.
“The baseless accusations and slander against Turkey voiced by the Foreign Minister of Greece during the press conference held at the conclusion of this forum, which is allegedly ‘not pitted against anyone,’ demonstrates that this initiative is in fact an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey, rather than ‘friendship’ as stated, Aksoy said.
“Those who caused destabilization in Libya by embracing putschists for the sake of their own maximalist demands and narrow agendas, who are trying to create a terror corridor that can potentially divide Syria and Iraq, and who have remained silent for years regarding the occupation of Azerbaijani territories should not exceed their limits and criticize Turkey’s humanitarian and fair policies in the region,” he said.
“This attitude displayed towards Turkey is hostile, especially at a time when attempts to establish a sincere and inclusive cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean are being conducted through Turkey’s proposal for an international conference. It also undermines the EU’s efforts in the context of the Union for the Mediterranean,” the Turkish spokesperson said.
“The Greek/Greek Cypriot duo’s attempts to prevent the EU from setting up a positive agenda with candidate state Turkey, and their conduct of politics by relying on others, threatens peace and stability in our region. We call upon this duo to act with common sense and invite the other countries attending this forum not to fall victim to the schemes of others,” he said.
The visiting officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates met in Athens with the foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which already hold regular contacts, and they were joined by video link by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The participating countries have broadly sided with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean dispute.