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Ankara rebuffs criticism from Greek FM

Turkey has reacted to comments from Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who on Tuesday accused Ankara of failing to abide by international law, in turn blaming Athens for tensions in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.

“The antagonistic statements against Turkey… made almost every day are populist, unserving of peace and stability as well as being totally detached from reality,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement late Tuesday, adding that “this provocative rhetoric is neither compatible with good neighborly relations nor with the spirit of consultative talks we have relaunched with Greece.”

“These delusions of Dendias prove that Greece prefers tension by creating artificial alliances and relying on favors of third parties against Turkey instead of resolving its bilateral issues and developing relations through an honest and meaningful dialogue with Turkey,” Bilgic said.

“Countries which have self confidence do not display such [an] attitude,” he said.

Bilgic meanwhile accused Greece of escalating tensions by pursuing maximalist goals in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea “which are against international law.”

“We totally reject Greece’s attempts to create a misleading perception and to label our country’s will to defend its legitimate rights and vital interests as a threat,” he said.

“We invite Greece once again to adhere to common sense and to respect international law and international treaties, instead of pursuing provocative rhetoric and activities with populist motives and grave miscalculations,” he said.

‘Epitome of absurdity’

Speaking to the press following a meeting with visiting Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud Tuesday, Dendias was adamant that Turkey must prove its commitment to international law starting with its withdrawal of the threat of war (casus belli) against Greece if it proceeds with its legal right to extend its territorial water, and to recognize that its maritime border accord with Libya is non-existent.

“The Turkish government has committed itself to a constant distortion of the truth and every notion of international law, including the Law of the Sea,” Dendias said, stressing that Turkey has deployed the largest landing force in the Mediterranean and “at the same time requires us to demilitarize our islands.”

This would be tantamount, he said, to Greece renouncing the recognized right of self-defense, as provided for in the United Nations Charter. Dendias described the Turkish government’s attitude on the issue as the “epitome of absurdity.”


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