Turkey hopes for E Med, Aegean resolution via dialogue: Defense minister
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey's defense chief on Oct. 20 reiterated Ankara's support for a resolution to the dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean seas through dialogue and under international law and good neighborly relations.
"Let's solve the problems by talking. But, everyone should have seen and understood that we won't submit to any fait accompli, coercion or pressure," said National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in a video conference meeting.
According to a statement by the ministry, Akar chaired the meeting attended by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, top force commanders and deputy ministers Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu and Alpaslan Kavaklıoğlu.
Expressing Turkey's determination to protect its interests and rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean, he underlined that the country would also continue to do so for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Akar asserted that Ankara was on the side of peace, dialogue, political resolution and negotiations, adding that exploratory talks with Greece should continue.
He voiced support for more meetings under NATO, as well as for a fourth round of talks between Turkey and Greece, two of which had been in Athens, and one in Ankara, so far.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
Akar stated that Armenia, which violated a recent cease-fire with Azerbaijan in the conflict for Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to hit civilian targets, killing innocent people, including women and children.
Expressing confidence in the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Akar expressed condolences for Azerbaijani martyrs who lost their lives in the attacks and a speedy recovery for the wounded.
"In their rightful struggle to preserve their territorial integrity and regain their own lands, we'll continue to stand by our Azerbaijani brothers and support them with all our means," Akar said.
New border clashes erupted between the two former Soviet republics on Sept. 27, when Armenia first launched attacks on civil settlements, and since then has continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.