Ankara, Turkey – Presidential spokesman Kalin made important assessments on the Eastern Mediterranean issue. “The interest of the European Union should not be reduced to the interest of a single member,” he said, urging the European Union to act “fairly.” “Anyone who knows turkey should know that such sanctions rhetoric or blackmail will not work against Turkey,” he said, referring to threats of sanctions against Turkey.
Speaking at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank’s “Turkey’s role in the Eastern Mediterranean: threats of conflict and the expectation of dialogue” event, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin noted that Turkey is the country with the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Expressing that every event in the Eastern Mediterranean is closely related to them, Kalin said that Greece ignores Turkey’s rights in the region:
“Sometimes I hear comments like Turkey is acting unilaterally and aggressively. But to be fair, Turkey was not the first country to issue gas exploration permits around the Eastern Mediterranean or the island of Cyprus. First, the Greek Cypriot Administration gave it. Although they rejected the Annan Plan, after their admission to the EU in 2020, they began to allow a large number of firms in disputed areas and in a way that ignored the rights of Turkish Cypriots.”
Recalling that the Greeks made illegal agreements with Lebanon, Israel and Egypt in the region, ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots, Kalın noted that Greece also began to allow energy companies since 2010, and Turkey’s rights were violated in these permits.
He said that the interests of the European Union (EU) should not be reduced to the interests of a single member.:
“It is no secret that some EU members have problems with Turkey. Here I can talk about France with its position in Syria and Libya over the last few years. Such countries are using the current crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean to fuel their opposition to Turkey. This attitude does not contribute to the solution of the problem, nor to the image of the EU as an honest mediator, nor to EU-Turkey relations.”
“Sanctions blackmail will not work against Turkey”
“Some members are talking about sanctions against the Turkish economy, the Turkish energy sector and companies. We’ve been through this before. Anyone who knows Turkey should know that such sanctions or blackmail will not work against Turkey,” he said.
He said the problems could be solved through “negotiation” and “dialogue,” noting that Greece had signed an illegal agreement with Egypt in a way that violated Turkey’s rights, despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan giving diplomacy a chance.
Kalin said that Greece had notified neither Turkey nor other EU countries in doing so.
Reacting to the lack of negotiations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Kalin said that the island of Meis is only 2 kilometers away from Turkey and 580 kilometers away from Greece: “is it fair to claim that this 10 square kilometers of island is 40 thousand square kilometers of sea area? No, it’s not. No international organization that understands geography believes this claim,” he said.
Kalin said that Turkey was accused of acting aggressively and unilaterally when it raised the issue, and that this was not fair.
“Any attempt by the United Arab Emirates, France or other countries to ignore Turkey or act without Turkey does not result positively and has a destabilizing effect on the entire region., “he said.