Aegean issues bilateral, not Turkey-EU problems: Defense minister
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Dec. 22 called on Greece to seek a solution to the eastern Mediterranean dispute through dialogue with Turkey instead of trying to drag the European Union into the conflict.
“It is our duty to protect the interests of our country. We just want to protect our rights. It is Greece that negatively shows this pursuit of our rights. Greece finding a solution by negotiating with Turkey is the most correct way. We have plans and try to move forward within this framework.
“If you are looking for solutions elsewhere instead of negotiating with Turkey, this situation cannot be resolved. We call for dialogue,” he told NTV private news broadcaster.
The attempt of Greece trying to involve the EU in the disagreement would not bring about anything other than a disadvantage to Athens, he added.
“We endeavor to resolve all our problems politically through dialogue with our neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Cyprus within the framework of good neighborly relations. This is our purpose, intention and wish,” the defense minister said.
He vowed to protect Turkey’s interests in the eastern Mediterranean and stressed that Ankara’s aim was to only preserve its rights in the region. “But it is Greece that is trying to show this pursuit negatively. We have plans, we try to move forward within this framework,” Akar stated.
Athens aims to display the issues as if there is a conflict between the European Union and Turkey, he said, while noting Ankara considers this to be futile and that it does not reflect the facts.
Turkey is determined to confront a fait accompli in the eastern Mediterranean, he added.