Macron adds fuel to fire in east Med, says Defense Minister Akar
French President Emmanuel Macron is adding fuel to the fire in the eastern Mediterranean and making it harder to solve problems, said the Turkish defense minister on Sept. 18.
The French president is “trying to take on the role of Napoleon, who died two centuries ago, but Macron is not strong enough for this,” Hulusi Akar said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News.
“Mr. Macron is pursuing several roles to cover up his problems. It [France] comes from thousands of kilometers and tries to play a role in the eastern Mediterranean. These are not the right things. We protect our rights, our law, and we have always stated we are ready to meet with our neighbor Greece and continue our dialogue,” Akar stated.
On NATO’s meditation efforts, Turkey has supported to hold meetings, Akar said, noting that although Greece is reluctant and slowing down on the solution for the eastern Mediterranean issue by implying some preconditions.
The Turkish and Greek delegations met at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sept. 17 to discuss ways to reduce the risk of an incident amid rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, and they are expected to hold another round of talks next week.
Akar has emphasized that Greece arms the islands on the Aegean in contrary to its responsibilities over international treaties.
Concerning the EU attitude to the issue, the minister said the EU does not contribute to the solution and has become a part of the deadlock where the EU does not have any authority to set or change rules or draw borders in the eastern Mediterranean.
“On the other hand, it is also a threatening language to talk about sanctions frequently in various ways. It does nothing but increases tension. These events contribute to insolvency, not solution,” the minister said.
Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.