Greek Foreign Minister Says Turkey Isolating Itself With Aggression

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, welcomes his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides before their meeting in Athens, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s continuing provocative tactics over the Aegean and East Mediterranean, such as signing a deal with Libya dividing the waters, is only acting to isolate it internationally.

Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides – Turkey is already drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters – Dendias said that, “We discussed Turkey’s illegal actions, which are not limited to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone,” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he plans to send ships off Crete to also hunt for energy there.

“Turkey must understand that this behavior is counterproductive and drives it into isolation,” he added, said Kathimerini, after the two talk about the Turkey-Libya deal and the collapsed Cyprus reunification talks.

Dendias said the Turkey-Libya deal won’t be accepted internationally, although Erdogan wants the United Nations to support him, as the Greek foreign chief said the agreement would further destabilize a divided Libya and the region and ramp up tension.

Dendias said he will be discussing the issue with the leaderships of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in future trips, he told the paper, while Christodoulides said that a possible ceasefire in Libya would help defuse tension that he said Turkey is ratcheting up.

Christodoulides called on the European Union, which has issued only soft sanctions against Turkey for drilling off Cyprus, to be more active in Libya so that, “We are not led into a state of affairs like the one in Syria, where the EU is essentially not playing an important role.”

Dendias and Christodoulides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Political Consultations and Technical Cooperation between the two foreign ministries.

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