Turkey calls on EU to improve relations and resume role ‘of an honest mediator’ after Brussels’ sanctions threat
The Turkish Foreign Minister has called on the EU to adopt the role of an unbiased mediator in what Turkey sees as a disagreement primarily between Athens and Ankara over sovereignty of contested waters in the Eastern Med.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday that Ankara is keen to improve relations with the European bloc and negotiate a solution to the contest between Greece and Turkey over potentially resource-rich territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s top diplomat insists that dialogue was needed to resolve the dispute and called on the EU to play the “role of an honest mediator” in Greek matters.
The minister proceeded to criticize Athens’ role in the spiraling diplomatic dispute.
Greece has never come to dialogue. We always develop our relations by creating a benign, positive atmosphere. We can solve problems only through dialogue and diplomacy.
He reaffirmed the Turkish position that Greek claims to the contested waters were illegitimate and unfair, and criticized their “maximalist approach.”
“Greece wants a continental shelf of 40 thousand square kilometers on a 10 square kilometer islet, two kilometers from Meis island, right under our nose, opposite Kaş,” Çavuşoğlu added. Kas is a popular holiday destination in Southern Turkey.
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The comments come as the EU threatens to sanction Turkey for its unilateral action in exploring hydrocarbon resources in the disputed waters. EU ministers met on Monday to debate sanctions, but no decision was made.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, “too many provocations” from Turkey had made it impossible to set up direct talks between Ankara and Athens.
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Turkey’s relations with Greece and the EU have deteriorated gravely this year, as Ankara repeatedly deployed exploration vessels to the contested waters.
Ankara has also enraged Cyprus, following Turkish hydrocarbon exploration off the divided island, and a controversial decision to reopen the long-abandoned town of Varosha, a former Cypriot beach resort.
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Source:RT World News