Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Turkey is determined to defend its rights across the “Blue Homeland,” the country’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said Friday, invoking an expansionist doctrine that envisages Turkish control over the waters of the eastern Aegean and the northern Mediterranean.
“We have no claims on anyone’s land or sea. Nevertheless, we will not back down on our rights,” Akar said.
“We are determined and capable of defending our rights across the ‘Blue Homeland’ as well as Cyprus,” he said.
Akar also reiterated claims that the Greek military “harassed” Turkey’s research vessel TCG Cesme in the Aegean Sea – an allegation Athens has rejected.
“I am once again stressing that such behavior is far from a gesture of good neighborly relations,” Akar said.
The Turkish defense minister furthermore accused Greece of seeking to turn its disputes with Turkey into EU-Turkey or even US-Turkey disputes.
“This is neither legal nor moral. It has no practical value whatsoever,” he said.
Dendias calls for stricter EU policy toward Turkey
Greece’s foreign minister has called for a stricter EU policy toward Turkey, saying that fear of European sanctions made Ankara de-escalate its provocations in the second half of 2020, eventually opening the way for the resumption of exploratory contacts between the two Aegean neighbors.
“If you ask me whether we are satisfied, I will tell you that we would want the EU to be tougher on Turkey,” Nikos Dendias told a virtual forum on Greek foreign policy.
“However, the EU is a union of 27 countries. It, thankfully, operates on the basis of consensus. The national interest, occasionally, supersedes the European interest. But it is still a very powerful, perhaps our most powerful, instrument,” he said.
Dendias said that commitment to international law has been the cornerstone of Greek foreign policy, adding that the country’s objective – with the help of like-minded international partners – is “to make Turkey realize that respect for international law is the only answer to problems.”
“Dialogue, of course, is like a release valve for tension; but it is not a remedy for problems,” the Greek minister said.