ANKARA – While Greek and Turkish officials were in a 64th round of exploratory talks that again went nowhere, Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is spreading lies that Greece is training terrorists.
“It is unfortunate that Turkey is repeating the slanderous claim without having any proof at all, that Greece is training terrorists against it. And it has absolutely no proof,”s aid Theodorikakos, reported Kathimerini.
He added that, “These are myths that have nothing to do with truth and reality,” and called it as “crude propaganda,” coming after Erdogan warned there would be consequences if Greece doesn’t demilitarize islands near Turkey’s coast.
Turkish media reported that Erdogan, without offering a shred of evidence or any proof, accused Greece of supporting terrorism, saying there is a training facility operating in Lavrio in favor of the PKK group. He also said that Greece has been given names of those involved by Turkey.
“For seven to eight months, there has been an infrastructure for transferring staff to the Lavrio camp, training them there and then transferring them back to the PKK and other organizations through Iraq,” he said, repeating a claim that Turkey has made before.
That was said against the backdrop of resumed talks that were again an informal chit-chat said to accomplish nothing but which Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said was “a positive agenda,” said Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.
Those came during a particularly high period of tension between them with Erdogan and high government officials in his administration even warning there could be war if Greece extends its territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles – shorter than the distance between some Greek islands and Turkey’s coast.
On the table for talk was a range of issues including airspace and seas sovereignty, maritime zones and Turkey’s plans to hunt for energy off Greek islands as it’s already doing off Cyprus, drawing soft Eurpean Union sanctions.
Turkey has repeatedly blamed Greece for intransigence and anything that went wrong between them although Turkey has violated Greek airspace and waters with fighter jets and warships.
Erdogan said he wants diplomacy on his terms, offering talks at the same time he’s stepped up provocations, including Turkey now demanding that Greece remove troops off Aegean islands off Turkey’s coast.
He’s also blamed Greece for rallying international allies, including the United States, although NATO – to which all three countries belong – refused to intervene over Turkey’s provocations.