Turkey, Greece to hold talks next week: Turkish defense minister
“We will have a meeting with our Greek counterparts within the framework of confidence-building measures, albeit from a distance. We will once again express that we are waiting for them for the fourth meeting to be held in Ankara,” Akar told reporters.
The minister criticized the “provocative” statements of some Greek officials despite efforts to normalize relations at those meetings. “While these works were going on, it is provocative that some Greek politicians and soldiers appeared on May 19 with some expressions that were baseless, inappropriate and incompatible with historical facts,” the minister stated.
“They are doing their best to destroy our well-intentioned works,” he added.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey and Greece were at loggerheads over territory and undersea energy resources last year after Ankara sent several drillships to explore energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish and Greek military officials launched talks to reduce the risk of conflict and accidents in the Aegean and Mediterranean under NATO auspices after months of tension. The two neighbors also resumed political discussions to resolve their differences.
Akar also said that 121 PKK members were killed in the ongoing operations of Pençe Şimşek and Pençe Yıldırım in northern Iraq. The minister emphasized that the PKK “has come to its end.”