Tension in the Eastern Mediterranean was provoked by Greece and Cyprus, says Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Ankara is ready for de-escalation and an “unconditional” dialogue with Greece and the EU.

However he stressed that “current tension in the Eastern Mediterranean was provoked by the unilateral actions of Greeks and Greek Cypriots who violate the rights of Turks and Turkish Cypriots.”

His comments were made on Thursday during a video conference with the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Turkish Minister also argued that the European Union has no jurisdiction over maritime borders and that it should remain impartial over Turkey’s dispute with Greece.

He also accused Greece of “harassing” Turkey’s research vessel Oruc Reis and of militarising the islands, and also of harassing the Turkish, as he called it, minority in Thrace.

Cavusoglu said Turkey’s strategy is two-dimensional: one is the definition of maritime zones based on International Law and the other is the protection of Turkish Cypriots and their rights.

On his part, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister reportedly briefed Cavusoglu on the Commission’s position on the matter and of the European Union’s solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, as well as Brussels’ demand for de-escalation and resolution of the crisis through dialogue. He also reminded the Turkish minister that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean would be discussed at the next plenary session of the European Parliament and a resolution would be adopted.

In a statement, Cavusoglu said Turkey was not in favour of military action, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had instructed Turkish forces “not to shoot first” but insisted that “Greek forces are harassing us.”

Meanwhile, MED7 leaders expressed full support & solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the face of repeated infringements on their sovereignty and sovereign rights, as well as confrontational actions by Turkey.

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