Turkish DM calls for dialogue and invites Panagiotopoulos to Turkey after repeating threats

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke in favour of dialogue with Greece when asking for the continuation of contacts between the military delegations of the two countries and announced that he invited his Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, to make an official visit to Turkey.

However, he defiantly repeated the narrative about the demilitarisation of the Greek islands and that Turkey will not accept a fait accompli and will protect its rights.

Answering journalists' questions during a military exercise in Polatlı, Ankara, the Turkish Defence Minister addressed the tension with Greece, saying that his country is the one that seeks dialogue.

This, of course, at a time when Turkey was proceeding with the test launch of the new Tayfun ballistic missile, with Turkish newspapers pointing out with bold headlines that: "Greece is in the coverage area" and that it could hit Athens.

Akar stated that Turkey respects the borders and sovereign rights of neighbouring countries, but will not allow fait accompli to its detriment.

"We will not allow any fait accompli. We will protect our rights. We are not invaders. We respect the borders and sovereignty rights of all our neighbours. We are talking about dialogue, friendship and brotherhood and this does not show weakness," he emphasised.

"Our military delegation went to Greece twice, while the Greek delegation came to Ankara once. We are waiting for the Greek delegation for the fourth meeting," the minister continued.

"While we are asking for these meetings, some are telling us: 'the Turks should come to a dialogue'. In fact, we are the ones who want dialogue," Akar added.

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According to the pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak, Akar, during the recent meeting he had in Brussels with his Greek counterpart, invited him to make an official visit to Turkey.

He said the problems between the two countries, even if they cannot be resolved, can be managed "in a way that does not harm our countries, the region and NATO."

At the last NATO defence ministers meeting, Akar made claims about Greek "harassments", defiantly claiming that Turkey is reacting in the air or at sea because of the "harassments and violations by the Greeks".

The Turkish Minister of Defence reiterated that Greece cannot have a different range of airspace in relation to maritime territorial waters, while he repeated the Turkish narrative about the demilitarisation of the Greek islands.

"The islands must be disarmed within the framework of the treaties," he said.

During his conversation with journalists, Akar also referred to the American presence in Greece, referring to the Alexandroupolis base and how Turkey is monitoring all movements.

"They said that they will establish a logistics centre and that their goal is Russia. They said they would build LNG depots to reduce dependence on Russian gas and from there they would be able to supply gas to Europe. We also say that our defense and security is a matter of precaution and surveillance. We are closely monitoring developments," he said.

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