French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made statements seen as mutual support for Greece and the Republic of Cyprus on Thursday, prompting a reaction from Ankara.
Macron received Merkel at a holiday retreat in Fort de Bregancon in southern France, where the two EU leaders discussed a number of issues including tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
The French president said the two countries would coordinate action, saying they wanted to see a de-escalation of tensions and respect for sovereignty of EU member states.
Merkel reiterated her call on Greece and Turkey to resume direct talks to resolve their long-standing disputes, adding that Berlin and Paris would enhance their cooperation to facilitate a diplomatic solution.
“We need stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, not tensions. We are aware of the critical situation there. I am confident that if Germany and France join their forces, hopefully we can find a good solution, which can make cooperation possible,” Merkel told a press conference after the meeting.
Merkel, who was known previously of treading a delicate line in the dispute between, said it was important to maintain unity among EU member states
Merkel, who was known previously of treading a delicate line in the dispute between Turkey and EU members Greece and Cyprus, underlined that it was important to maintain unity among EU member states, echoing Macron’s call to demonstrate solidarity with the two Mediterranean states.
The statements during the press conference prompted an immediate response from Ankara, with Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy the EU was “held hostage to the manipulation and blackmail of the two member states.”
“If the EU wants to be a part of the process that aims peace, prosperity and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, it must be objective and honest,” Aksoy said in a statement right after the press conference.
The spokesman reiterated Turkey’s position that calls for restraint should be directed at the governments in Greece and the Republic of Cyprus rather than Ankara.
“As shared with the public earlier, the calls for restraint should be directed to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, which harm EU's interests and escalate tension by exploiting the EU membership solidarity, rather than Turkey on the side of dialogue and cooperation,” he said.