Germany must be impartial in disputes with Greece: Türkiye

Germany must be impartial in disputes with Greece: Türkiye

Germany must be impartial in disputes with Greece: Türkiye

Türkiye’s foreign minister urged Germany on July 29 to be “an honest broker” and not always side with Athens in disputes between Türkiye and Greece.

Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made the comments during a tense news conference with his visiting German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock.

“Germany has acted as an honest mediator in the past. It had a balanced attitude, but lately, we see that this balance is unfortunately being lost,” Çavuşoğlu said, accusing Berlin of falling for “Greek propaganda.”

Baerbock met with Çavuşoğlu in Istanbul after holding talks with officials in Greece, where she criticized Türkiye for disputing the sovereignty of Greek islands near its coastline. She also urged Greece to make sure it stamps out any illegal pushbacks of migrants at the border.

Turkish officials says the sovereignty of eastern Greek islands can be disputed if it keeps a military presence there in violation of its treaty commitments. Athens disputes that view.

In both Greece and Türkiye, Baerbock suggested that the NATO members should concentrate their efforts on supporting Ukraine, and singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country’s aggression.

“For me, it is clear that we must solve conflicts between NATO partners in dialogue. Disputes in the ranks of the alliance are exactly what the Russian president wants,” she said in Athens. “That includes respecting each other’s sovereignty.'

Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye wanted Germany to adopt the same “balanced and trusted” attitude displayed by former Chancellor Angela Merkel who had mediated between Ankara and Athens in the past.

As the two ministers exchanged grievances, Baerbock spoke out against Turkish plans to launch a new military operation in northern Syria to push back PKK terror organization's Syria offshoot YPG. 

Çavuşoğlu responded: “When our allies tell us they understand Türkiye’s (security) concerns, we don’t want it to be through words only. We expect them to support Türkiye’s legitimate fight (against terrorism)."

The German minister was also critical of a Turkish court ruling that convicted Osman Kavala to life in prison.

Çavuşoğlu said he "would have had more respect” for Baerbock’s opinion if she had also criticized Greece, whom he said fails to respect ECHR rulings regarding Muslim minorities in Greece.

The German minister was scheduled to meet with refugees in the Turkish capital Ankara, on Saturday. Türkiye hosts 3.7 million Syrians who have sought refuge from the war.