French ‘bullying’ in eastern Med unacceptable: Akar
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has slammed France for “bullying” in the eastern Mediterranean through its military buildup and criticized the United States’ decision to lift an arms embargo on Greek Cyprus amid an ongoing standoff between Ankara and Athens.
“There are those coming from thousands of kilometers away for bullying, claiming rights and playing the role of a guardian angel. These are unacceptable. As they have come, so they will go,” Akar told reporters during his visit to the Combined Air Operation Center in the central Anatolian town of Eskişehir on Sept. 3. He was accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, the commanders of the land, air and navy forces.
In his address to the commanders, Akar made assessments on the ongoing conflict in the eastern Mediterranean and the developments in Cyprus and the Aegean Sea, stressing that Turkey has always been respectful to the territorial and political unity of its neighbors.
“But on the other hand, everybody should know that we will not abandon our rights and tolerate the violation of our rights right in front of our eyes,” he said.
“Greece and France, with the support of the EU, illogically claim that they are right in their claims. We will never buy your ‘two plus two is equal to five’ understanding. It’s wrong. You can’t change the fact that ‘two plus two is equal to four’ although you garner the support of the entire world,” he stated.
Cyprus is Turkey’s national cause and will protect the Turkish Cypriots just like it did in 1974, Akar added, referring to the Turkish Armed Forces’ intervention into the island in a bid to protect Turks from the Greek Cypriot militias.
Stating that Greece has been continuing to militarize the Aegean Islands in violation of international law, the minister said, “Despite all these violations we have always underlined the need for dialogue.”
Akar said although the problem has been between Turkey and Greece, some third parties had been trying to get in the picture by bullying in the region, and added, “For example, France. You are not a guarantor country, you have no agreement, you are not the representative of the EU. Then on what grounds are you coming here? If you think you will play a hero, these times are over.”
Stating that Turkey is not seeking an escalation but is after its rights in the region, he said, “This can never be prevented.”
Reaction against the US
Akar has also touched on the U.S. decision to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cyprus. “Third parties should act in wisdom and common sense. This problem can be resolved only through this way. But if you lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cyprus and break the balance, this will only bring about conflict and not a resolution,” he said.
Turkey has strongly slammed the U.S. decision especially at a time when tension is high in the region and vowed that it would respond in the same way to protect the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey issues new NAVTEX
Turkey has issued two new advisories to sailors, known as NAVTEX, in the eastern Mediterranean to inform about two separate military exercises to be conducted by the Russian navy forces.
The first exercise will take place between Sept. 8 - Sept. 17 and the other one between Sept. 22 - Sept. 25.