EU must see facts, Greece's provocations: Turkish FM
Turkey is expecting the European Union to act strategically based on the facts as Greece continues provocations, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Dec. 8, ahead of a summit that will take place on Dec. 10 regarding the decision over imposing sanctions on Turkey.
Turkey wants to improve ties with the EU based on full membership, but the problems between them can only solve if the bloc acts with common sense at a summit this week and beyond, Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
“We expect the EU to always act strategically and sanely, not just for tomorrow’s summit. We want it to contribute towards the solutions to the problems. But for this, the EU must play the role of an honest mediator,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Greece had continued “provocative” steps in the region despite Turkey’s efforts to use diplomacy, he stated.
Çavuşoğlu pointed at the fact that Greece has stopped participating in the NATO meetings despite Turkey’s “well-intentioned steps,” and also has issued 11 Navtex and 12 notices to airmen (NOTAM) messages recently.
“They also took provocative steps to violate the status of the demilitarized islands. We were really patient. Greece did not approach for dialogue. Recently, they have not participated in NATO’s deconfliction meetings. Who is avoiding dialogue?” he asked.
Recalling that Greece stated, “As long as the Oruç Reis ship is there, we will not come to the meeting,” Çavuşoğlu said that on Oct. 29, Oruç Reis completed its activities in that region and returned to Antalya Port.
Athens accuses Ankara of being a “provoking side,” the minister said, emphasizing that this is not true, and the EU should see this and be “fair and honest.”
“This attitude of Greece should be realized by the EU as well,” he said.
On Dec. 7, EU foreign ministers said Turkey had failed to help resolve a dispute with EU members Greece and Greek Cyprus over natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. But they have left any decision to be made on retaliatory sanctions for an EU summit on Dec. 10.
Top Turkish diplomat speaks with Russian counterpart
Turkey's foreign minister on Dec. 8 spoke with his Russian counterpart in a telephone conversation, diplomatic sources said.
Çavuşoğlu and Sergey Lavrov discussed issues related to Upper Karabakh, Ukraine, and the recent arrest and release of Russian nationals in Turkey, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
On Monday two Russian nationals were released after being arrested along with a Turkish national after taking unauthorized footage via UAV of a research and development center in Istanbul.