Defense minister urges Greece to respond to Turkey’s call for ‘friendship’

Defense minister urges Greece to respond to Turkey’s call for ‘friendship’

Defense minister urges Greece to respond to Turkey’s call for ‘friendship’

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on April 21 called on Greece for better relations but said Athens is acting slowly to respond to “the hand Turkey extended for friendship.”

“We tell our neighbor Greece: ‘Hold this hand of friendship that we sincerely extend.’ Our neighbor takes a little slow step in the dialogue. We expect them to be a little more active,” Akar said, addressing the Distinguished Observer Day activities of the Blue Homeland Exercise via video conference.

Turkey wants to share all the riches of the Aegean Sea fairly and make the Aegean Sea a sea of ​​friendship, the minister stated. But “the provocative actions and discourses of some Greek administrators continue,” despite Turkey’s calls for better ties.

“These negatively affect our relationship. On the one hand, it is said that we are allies and neighbors within NATO, and on the other hand, a hostile attitude towards Turkey is displayed,” he said.

Some statements that “accuse and defame” Turkey do not benefit anyone, Akar said, noting that pursuing acts such as armament is also against the interests and welfare of the Greek people.

“Greece has armed 16 of the 23 islands in violation of international agreements. This is a flagrant violation, a fundamental violation of the law,” he noted.

Tensions between Turkey and its historic regional rival, Greece, have increased in recent years over gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean, while the two countries have been on loggerheads for many years over the territorial claims in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey rejects Greek claims on maritime boundary rights in the Mediterranean and blames Athens for continued provocations in the Aegean Sea and inflammatory rhetoric and actions.

Ankara also criticizes Greece for intense armament in a bid for military superiority against Turkey. In 2021, Greece ratified a mutual defense deal with France, which will allow them to come to each other’s aid in the event of an external threat, but it has stirred further tensions with Turkey.

Ankara is also critical of Greek attempts for the armament of the Aegean islands.

Turkey and Greece had launched a new dialogue in early 2021 following a year-long tension in the eastern Mediterranean due to overlapping continental shelf claims. The process brought about a common effort to promote the economic and trade ties in the context of positive agenda.