Ankara, Turkey – While the German mediation initiative to de-escalate tension between the two countries was in place, the open threats directed Tuesday against Greece by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu appeared to have de-worthied the Greek provocative move in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Seemingly, the threats directed Tuesday against Greece by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu appeared to have de-valued the sided the German mediation initiative to de-escalate tension between the two countries. Because Germany openly sided Greece in these critical hot issue in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Islands Sea, and the Muslim community – Turks in Western Thrace.
On the other hand, for his part, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said earlier during a meeting with his visiting German counterpart Heiko Maas that Turkey must de-escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and Islands Sea or face European Union sanctions.
But Turkey appeared defiant, with Çavuşoğlu saying, shortly after his brief meeting in Ankara with Maas, that Turkey “will do what is necessary without hesitation” while denouncing Greece over its statements that it will defend its rights, warning it not to “endanger” itself by playing the role of bait for some countries – in what was seen as a clear reference to France, the US and the United Arab Emirates.
Çavuşoğlu insisted that Turkey wants a dialogue, but said that Greece cannot set the conditions, while also making reference to Greece’s Muslim community in Thrace. “If Greece respects international law so much, why does it not allow Turks in Western Thrace to use the name ‘Turk,’ despite the rulings of the EU Court of Human Rights,” he said.
Indeed, for his part, German Foreign Minister Maas, who visited both capitals as part of Germany’s mediation effort, stressed that further escalation would not be good for Greece and Turkey, nor, for that matter, the European Union as a whole.
The tension between two neighbours just hit a crest in the region, before Maas’ arrival in Ankara, the atmosphere in Turkey regarding Greece had already taken a negative turn, not least among the media, which also accused Germany and Maas of siding with Greece, rendering Berlin an unworthy mediator.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Hurriyet, the representative of the presidency, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin reiterated Turkey’s opposition to the maritime zones agreement between Greece and Egypt. He also said that Greece and Turkey should resolve the issues “on their own.” However, referring to the agenda of the talks, Kalin said they must include not only the issues in the Islands Sea and Eastern Mediterranean but also the rights of the Muslim minority in Greece. Kalin also said that “from time to time Greece raises maximalist demands.”
Concluding his statement on mediation, Maas suggested while in Athens that the cessation of any military mobilization in the Eastern Mediterranean is a precondition for the successful resumption of the dialogue between Greece and Turkey.