Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Washington of having stopped maintaining a ‘balance’ regarding Greece and Cyprus, just as Athens fired back at Ankara over increasing rhetoric in Aegean disputes.
As the two regional foes and NATO allies have been ratcheting up rhetoric and squaring off over the Aegean just before the year is out, Cavusoglu on Thursday called out Washington’s policy towards Greece and Cyprus and said the Americans have stopped maintaining balance in the region.
“The fact that they have given so many weapons to Greece is a clear indication that they have lost this balance,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.
Cavusoglu, who was speaking to reporters in an end-of-the-year press conference, said Turkey “clearly told the US that they are disrupting their balance on Greece and Cyprus.”
'The fact that they have given so many weapons to Greece is a clear indication that they have lost this balance'
On the same day, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias fired back at Ankara following Turkish warnings over territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.
Dendias said Athens would not tolerate any discussion or disputation on issues involving national sovereignty.
“In the face of war threats, we point to a documented set of arguments that are based on International Law and Law of the Sea,” Dendias wrote on Twitter.
Greek government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou also fired back at Ankara, in response to an earlier statement by Cavusoglu, who warned Greece “not to play tough based on those who you want to have on your side.”
Oikonomou described Cavusoglu’s warnings as a “strategy of threats and challenges that would lead Turkey nowhere,” adding Greece could not be intimidated or terrorized.
“It would be useful for Turkish officials to dwell on this and not choose the same path in the New Year,” Oikonomou said.
Last year Cavusoglu said Ankara was in favor of settling maritime disputes fairly and in accordance with international law but argued against what he called “maximalist demands” by Greeks and Greek Cypriots.
Greece maintains that Turkey is stirring up trouble in the neighborhood, with both Athens and Nicosia calling on Ankara to abandon what they described as “provocations” and unilateral actions that threaten stability in the region.
But Cavusoglu, who suggested in the past that the European Union was being coaxed into siding with the Greeks against the Turks, defended his views on Thursday, saying “there are still those who blindly defend the maximalist demands of Greeks and Greek Cypriots.”