Between Taunts, Turkey Wants Better Relations with Greece

ANKARA — Continuing a policy alternating between belligerence and conciliation, Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said he wants disputes between the countries over rights to the seas between them worked out.

He said that should be done on the basis of international laws that Turkey doesn't recognize, including the United Nations Law of the Sea, and with Turkey not accepting the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, unless invoking to its advantage.

“We’re in favor of a peaceful resolution of these problems within the framework of international law and good neighborly relations by talking and negotiating with our Greek neighbors,” he said while visiting TCG Anatolian Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship, said Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News.

“However, our Greek neighbors are doing their best to sabotage the positive state of affairs with their actions and discourse,” he added, immediately undercutting his own attempts at trying to be more diplomatic in his approach.

It would be impossible for the two sides to make any progress with these “provocations,” Akar said without giving any examples and as Turkey had kept violating Greek airspace and waters.

He said that the two countries, who after four years resumed so-called exploratory talks that were essentially chit-chats that were non-binding and didn't advance any possible resolutions, would try them again with confidence-building measures that have also failed outright.

Turkey doesn't accept Greece's international waters and had sent an energy research vessel and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo to look for oil and gas potential and said they would return soon.

They were pulled after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis first demanded sanctions and then backed off them to give diplomacy a chance. When that didn't work, he asked for them again only to be blocked by Germany, which has 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage and is a major arms dealer to Turkey.

Turkey also said it will resume drilling in the East Mediterranean off Cyprus, ignoring soft European Union sanctions and repeated claims to parts of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government.


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