Greece should put aside 'provocative behavior' that increases tension in region, says Turkish defense chief Hulusi Akar.
Greece's violation of international treaties by arming 18 Aegean islands serves only to escalate tensions and sabotage dialogue, Turkey's top defense official said Sunday.
Greece should put aside “provocative behavior” that raises tension in region, Hulusi Akar said in an interview with Anadolu Agency's Editor-in-Chief Metin Mutanoglu in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.
Underlining the importance of diplomacy in resolving disputes, Akar said Turkey is always on the side of dialogue and negotiation.
'Greece violates int'l agreements by arming 18 islands'
“According to our understanding, tension, provocation do not help anyone, especially Greece,” he said, adding that the country would continue to defend its rights in the region.
Criticizing Greek president's visit to Meis for independence celebrations, the Turkish defense minister said: “As if there is no other island left for celebration, they come to these. These [acts], of course, disturb us.”
Greece has tried to claim hundreds of miles of maritime territory from the island of Meis, a 26 square kilometer (10 square mile) island just two km (1.24 mi) from the Turkish coast yet 600 km (373 mi) from Greece.
Amid the tension, Greek troops have been seen mobilizing on Meis – an island demilitarized through longstanding treaties.
‘Macron's policies have failed’
Akar also criticized French President Emmanuel Macron's attitude towards the dispute in the region, calling on Greeks not to fall for initiatives he is leading to "save himself."
“It is clear that Mr. Macron's policies have failed. He is trying to take some roles to cover this up,” he said.
Speaking about activities of Turkey’s Oruc Reis ship in the Mediterranean, he underlined that there will be back and forth movements as per the plan, stressing, “It is not possible to abandon Turkey’s rights there."
Reminding technical talks at NATO, he said that Turkey is in favor of finding a political solution to the problems through dialogue and negotiations and support all kinds of initiatives within this framework.
“We are ready to host the [NATO’s] fourth meeting. Let them come. We are right, we do not hesitate to meet,” he added.
He also criticized the US' partial lifting of arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots stressing that it will lead parties to deadlock and not to peace and solution.
“It does not suit the spirit of alliance,” he added.