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Politics

Left Out, Turkey Still Miffed Over Greek Friendship Forum Snub

February 15, 2021

ATHENS — The two countries only recently re-engaging in exploratory talks, Turkey is upset about being left out of the Philia (Friendship) Forum that saw Greece invite Cyprus, Egypt, France, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to talk about relations while tensions are simmering with Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy had already spoken out about Turkey being snubbed by Greece after the Jan. 25 first round in Constantinople in a 61st series of talks, the next planned for March in Athens.

Greece ignored the complaints with Kathimerini saying the New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has been trying to build an international alliance against Turkey, was satisfied with the outcome.

Greece even has reached out to Iraq, whose Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as well as Mitsotakis, who hasn’t taken the bait of Turkey making belligerent statements.

Aksoy said, “It is not possible for any forum not including Turkey, the key country in its region, and Turkish Cypriots, to constitute an effective and successful mechanism of cooperation and friendship with regard to the challenges in the region.”

What especially ired Turkey’s ministry was Dendias, during a news conference, indirectly accusing Turkey of threatening and using violence, invading other countries and supporting extreme ideologies and terrorism.

“The baseless accusations and slander against Turkey voiced by the foreign minister of Greece during the press conference held at the conclusion of this forum, which is allegedly ‘not pitted against anyone,’ demonstrates that this initiative is in fact an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility toward Turkey, rather than ‘friendship’ as stated,” the Turkish statement said, according to Kathimerini.

It further accused Greece of causing destabilization in Libya, “trying to create a terror corridor that can potentially divide Syria and Iraq,” and remaining “silent for years regarding the occupation of Azerbaijani territories,” and saying that it “should not exceed (it) limits and criticize Turkey’s humanitarian and fair policies in the region.”

Dendias said Turkey was “casting accusations and insults against us,” instead of “responding to the effort (made by the forum.” He added that, “Our aim is de-escalation and, when conditions permit, creating a climate of cooperation with everybody.”

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