Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had an extremely productive trip to the Armenian capital of Yerevan yesterday, which has evidently angered Turkey.
Not only did Dendias visit the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan, he also met his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan where the strong bonds Greece and Armenia were confirmed.
However, the visit of Dendias to Yerevan yesterday to improve and strengthen the bilateral relations of Greece and Armenia triggered a negative reaction from Turkey.
“Greece is the one that causes the problems or supports those who cause them,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement criticizing the statements of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Armenia.
Last week Russia brokered a ceasefire between Armenian forces in Artsakh and Turkish-backed Azerbaijani soldiers and Syrian militants. However, just minutes after the ceasefire was to begin, Turkish-sponsored forces broke it by targeting Armenian positions.
“We face serious security challenges in our immediate neighborhood, but we are trying to find diplomatic solutions in order to maintain peace and stability in the region. In both cases, it is crucial and important that the international community states a clear distinction between those who add fuel to the fire and those who take a constructive approach and adhere to peaceful solutions to a dispute,” he said.
Dendias also emphasized that Turkey’s intervention in yet another conflict is very worrying.
“Tensions in Syria, Iraq, Cyprus and Libya have one source – Turkey. This country ignores the European Union’s calls to respect international norms,” he said.
In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that “the statements and allegations made by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias during his visit to Armenia are proof that Greece prefers the policy of tension and escalation instead of good neighborliness with Turkey, dialogue and cooperation.”
The statement added: “These allegations cannot cover the historical facts. Greece must not forget the atrocities it committed in Asia Minor, for which it was ordered to pay reparations, it must read history correctly and abandon the ‘Megali Idea’ and its hostility towards the Turks.”
Of course this a laughable deflection by Turkey to distract the objective fact it is militarily involved and the main source of hostility in the East Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus, as well as with Libya, Armenia, Syria and Iraq.
The ‘Megali Idea,’ or the ‘Great Idea,’ was a policy to reunify all historic Greek regions from Turkish occupation with Greece, but was abandoned in 1923, some 97 years ago. Although abandoned for nearly a century, Turkey evidently maintains a paranoia about it while spreading false notions of Greek atrocities against Turks during a period when the Turks exterminated over three million Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians in Thrace and Anatolia in a brutal genocide.
According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, “the common denominator for solving all the problems in our region is Turkey and Greece is the one that causes the problems or supports those who cause them”.
Aksoy also claims that “it is Greece that supports the tyrannical Assad regime, the coup d’etat Haftar, Armenian-held Nagorno-Karabakh, which has opened its doors to all terrorist organizations operating against Turkey, including the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party], PYD, FETO, which turned the Aegean into a graveyard of immigrants, which pursues policies of expansion in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.”
He added that “the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece must separate what is the occupying power of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas around it and who are the victims.”
“It must call on the international community to condemn the 28-year-old illegal occupation of Armenia despite UN Security Council resolutions calling for its immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Azerbaijan. Greece must abandon these policies and read well the realities of the region and the world,” he said without a sense of contradiction considering only last week Turkey broke UN Security Council resolutions by opening the beach of Varosha in occupied northern Cyprus.