German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu clashed in a heated exchange during a live press conference on Friday over human rights and Greece.
The press conference took a a tense turn when Baerbock reminded her agitated Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu that Greece's sovereignty over its islands is unquestionable and advised Turkey to stop escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, noting Greece's borders are Europe's borders.
"The Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Rhodes and many others are Greek territories and nobody has the right to question them," Baerbock has earlier stated in Athens during a joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias which infuriated Ankara.
The Baerbock - Cavusoglu press conference, which began an hour later than scheduled and ran for an hour, started off with calm remarks by the two ministers but became increasingly testy as they criticised each other's policies reported Reuters.
According to the media outlet, the Turkish and German foreign ministers soon argued over a range of issues in a tense and drawn-out news conference on Friday, trading barbs over disputes between Ankara and Athens, jailed Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish militants.
Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu said Germany had lost its impartiality in mediating between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, adding that it should listen to all sides without prejudice.
"Third countries, including Germany, should not be a tool to provocation and propaganda especially by Greece and the Greek Cypriot side," he said during the news conference in Istanbul.
Cyprus, which was partitioned in 1974 when Turkey invaded its northern third in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup, is a main point of division.
Germany's Annalena Baerbock said issues cannot be solved in the eastern Mediterranean by increasing tensions.
Baerbock later turned attention to philanthropist Kavala and called on Turkey to implement rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
"It is my responsibility as foreign minister to respect and defend rulings of the ECHR, without exception and at all times," she said, adding that Kavala should be freed.
The ECHR said this month that Turkey had not implemented the 2019 ruling over Kavala, as part of infringement proceedings, which could see Ankara suspended from the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog.
Cavusoglu responded by saying Greece, Norway and Germany had also not implemented other rulings by the ECHR and accused Germany of funding Kavala. Kavala was sentenced to life in prison without parole in April on charges of financing 2013 nationwide "Gezi" protests in what rights groups say was a political trial.
"Why do you constantly bring up Osman Kavala? Because you are using Osman Kavala against Turkey. We know how much he was funded during the Gezi events," Cavusoglu said.