Greece is not responding to Türkiye’s calls for dialogue and intentionally increases tension in the Aegean Sea due to looming elections, the Turkish defense minister has said, repeating Ankara’s proposal for the resumption of military-to-military talks.
“We have serious problems with Greece. We are working for resolving them through dialogue. Unfortunately, we did not get a positive response from Greece. As they don’t come to the table for talks, they are trying to make accusations against us by using some weird concepts,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at a meeting organized by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) branch in the Central Anatolian town of Tokat on Jan. 6.
Akar accused Greece of increasing tension with Türkiye because of domestic political reasons, as the Greek government does not have much to sell its people before the looming national elections. Greece will go to the polls, but no date has been set yet.
Türkiye and Greece have long been at odds over the Aegean Sea and accuse each other of violating their sovereign rights. Technical bilateral talks for resolving the issues concerning territorial waters, airspace and other disputed matters have been stalled, while Greece refuses to attend the de-confliction talks with Türkiye at NATO, Akar recalled.
“We had three meetings between our defense ministries, two in Athens and one in Ankara. We have been inviting them to hold the fourth meeting in Ankara for two years, but they have declined to respond,” the minister said.
Türkiye is sincere in its calls for dialogue and negotiations but at the same time is firm in protecting its rights and the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, Akar stressed. “Don’t hesitate to hold our hand for friendship. Don’t even think of seeking an adventure,” he said.
“We won’t leave any provocation against us unanswered. We have given this instruction to every unit of our military. We are not going to harass, we are not going to violate, but we won’t tolerate any provocation against us either,” he warned.__Daily Hurriyet