Turkish DM Akar provokes Greece on the Muslim minority, the Votanikos mosque and the islands

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar

In an interview with the pro-government newspaper Milliyet, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar invoked international law, advocating good neighbourliness, dialogue and a "permanent and comprehensive solution" to the problems with Greece.

"We speak very clearly in our talks with them," he said, reiterating the call for continued discussions on Confidence Building Measures. "Our military delegation went to Greece twice. The Greeks came to Ankara once."

"Now we are waiting for the Greek delegation to Turkey for the fourth meeting. Two years have passed and they have not come, while we invite them to continue these meetings," the minister continued.

"Some suggest dialogue with Greece. In fact, we are the ones who want the dialogue"
Akar, in an attempt to present 'black as white', argued that Turkey "never harassed or threatened" but will not remain indifferent when it itself receives harassment or threats, doing the "necessary".

Speaking about the Aegean islands, he repeated the demand for their demilitarisation, but without mentioning the Turkish narrative about their non-Greek sovereignty. This is obviously attributed to the messages that Turkey has been receiving in recent days from the USA, Germany and other countries.

At the same time, he spoke about the difference between territorial waters and the airspace and said he was in favour of dialogue with Greece.

“Demilitarised islands cannot be armed according to Articles 12 and 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne and Paris Treaty. This is very clear and precise. But Greece is equipping these islands," he falsely claimed.

"There are no 6 miles of territorial waters and 10 miles of airspace anywhere in the world, but Greece applies them that way. Despite all this, we are the ones who say: 'let's sit down and talk'. Greece lets others speak for it. We say, 'let's sit down and talk to each other and solve the problems,'" he said.

Regarding the American base in Alexandroupoli, in relation to the past, the Turkish foreign minister spoke generally without recalling the previous inflammatory rhetoric on the subject, while reiterating Turkey's position of "two sovereign states" in Cyprus.

"We are in favour of a permanent and just solution, with equality of sovereignty and international status. A two state solution . The international community must now recognize the 'TRNC'.," he said before speaking out against the US lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus.

In his interview with Milliyet, Akar also accused Greece of violating the rights of the Muslim minority in Thrace, calling it "Turkish", while he also referred to the operation of a Muslim mosque in Greece, falsely claiming that it is managed by the Orthodox Church.

"The situation of the 'Turks' in Western Thrace is clear. Greece tries to ignore the 'Turks' of Western Thrace. They say to the 'Turks' there 'You are not Turks'. What are Japanese? Their names are Turkish, their relatives are in Turkey," the minister said.

"They close their schools. In addition, they try in every possible way not to allow the opening of mosques in Greece . There is only one mosque in Athens, without dome and minaret, its administration is made up of Orthodox and there are no Turks," concluded the Turkish Defence Minister defiantly.

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