Ankara, Turkey – Turkey has criticized the regional hostile Philia Forum that convened in Greece, describing it as “an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey.”
“It is not possible for any forum not including Turkey, the key country in its region, and Turkish Cypriots, to constitute an effective and successful mechanism of cooperation and friendship with regard to the challenges in the region,” said a statement by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy.
“The baseless accusations and slander against Turkey voiced by the Foreign Minister of Greece during the press conference held at the conclusion of this forum, which is allegedly ‘not pitted against anyone,’ demonstrates that this initiative is in fact an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey, rather than ‘friendship’ as stated, Aksoy said.
“Those who caused destabilization in Libya by embracing putschists for the sake of their own maximalist demands and narrow agendas, who are trying to create a terror corridor that can potentially divide Syria and Iraq, and who have remained silent for years regarding the occupation of Azerbaijani territories should not exceed their limits and criticize Turkey’s humanitarian and fair policies in the region,” he said.
“This attitude displayed towards Turkey is hostile, especially at a time when attempts to establish a sincere and inclusive cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean are being conducted through Turkey’s proposal for an international conference. It also undermines the EU’s efforts in the context of the Union for the Mediterranean,” the Turkish spokesperson said.
“The Greek/Greek Cypriot duo’s attempts to prevent the EU from setting up a positive agenda with candidate state Turkey, and their conduct of politics by relying on others, threatens peace and stability in our region. We call upon this duo to act with common sense and invite the other countries attending this forum not to fall victim to the schemes of others,” he said.
The visiting officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates met in Athens with the foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which already hold regular contacts, and they were joined by video link by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The participating countries have broadly sided with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean dispute.
Greece expands regional Hostile alliance with Philia forum directed against Turkey
The Philia Forum that convened in Greece is an unprecedented effort by Greece to expand its network of allies, directed against Turkey as Hostile alliance, from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.
And, although the participants’ joint statement released after the meeting uses inclusive language to tout peace, security and stability in the wider region, it is implicitly and arrogantly aimed at Turkey.
“(W)e reiterated our common adherence to International Law, including the UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolutions and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which we are all signatories. We stressed our strong commitment to fundamental principles enshrined therein, such as the respect of the sovereignty, sovereign rights, independence and territorial integrity of states, the peaceful resolution of differences and rejection of threats or use of force,” the statement says.
With the meeting, the Greek Republic of Southern Cyprus (GRSC), Egypt and Greece, three Mediterranean states which have found common ground over the demarcation of territorial waters and exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean against Turkey, reached out to the Gulf states of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to “exchange views on issues of common interest and concern, with the aim of further strengthening our cooperation and actively contributing to the consolidation of peace, stability and security in the wider region,” the statement noted.
The meeting was also joined by France, whose Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian participated via teleconference.
The ministers agreed to take joint initiatives on issues such as energy, innovation, the digital economy, civil protection and people-to-people contacts. “In the same vein, we also explored possibilities for further cooperation in the fields of science, agriculture, food security, academic education and training, interfaith dialogue, culture and sports,” they said. But they also discussed issues such as Syria, Libya and Yemen, the Middle East peace process and the pandemic.
In his message to the conference, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined that “our initiative is open to all and is not aimed at anyone.” He later had a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud.