Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Çavuşoğlu made some statements regarding the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean during his speech at EP Foreign Affairs Commission.
Stating that Greece harassed Turkish research vessels, Minister Çavuşoğlu added “We wished to increase our field range to 12 miles and in turn, they’ve increased the harassment of the minorities in Western Thrace. I wished to hold talks with my Greek correspondent but I was declined by the Greek side. We are ready to have talks without any preconditions.”
“Greece avoids holding talks”
Çavuşoğlu added: “They’ve ignored the country with the longest coastline in the region. They’ve ignored Turkey, our country, in the talks. They’ve made Greek Cypriots a member of the EU even though they rejected the UN’s Annan Plan. They’ve followed their Maximalist goals. Please check the maps. They’ve proposed the Sevilla map. This map gives Turkey no rights at water whatsoever. Even with our invitations for talks in 2011 and 2012, TRNC requested negotiation talks regarding the distribution of rights with the aid of the UN.
We supported this request, supported the fair distribution of rights. With the new government in Greece, we took steps regarding our naval borders. Sadly nothing happened because of the Greek Cypriots’ attitude. Mr. Erdoğan met with Mr. Mitsotakis in London, but the Greek party again avoided holding talks. Greece avoids holding these talks.” Underlining their call of ‘giving diplomacy a chance’ led by Germany and EU representative Chancellor Merkel, Çavuşoğlu stated that “We paused our activities on July 21st, we received harsh criticism for it, it had a political impact on us. In conclusion, we had to make decisions for our armies to lower the tensions and confirm security. We were planning on giving a joint declaration on August 7th. Sadly, this got interrupted because of Greece signing an agreement with Egypt at the last minute and taking steps back between our relations. Henceforth, we see that Greece is not ready to hold talks with Turkey. Even the European Union is unaware of these provocative steps Greece is taking. When the representatives of Mrs. Merkel found out about this back in Malta, they were utterly disappointed.”
“Greece is harassing our vessels”
Saying that Greece is now harassing Turkish research vessels in offshore waters, Çavuşoğlu continued: “We wished to increase our research range to 12 miles and in return they’ve (the Greeks) harassed the minorities in the Western Thrace region. They’re innocent people. I’ve agreed on meeting my Greek correspondent but sadly they’ve declined our offers. We are ready for dialogue without any preconditions. If Greece wants to insist, so will we. Turkey’s stance follows the international legal institutions’ decisions and international law. Off waters where two countries’ borders meet, it is wrong to consider islands that were placed on the wrong side of the borders as leverage. There must be an agreement between countries and their maritime authority zones.”
Calling out to EU, Çavuşoğlu finished by saying “Our region needs cooperation, joint action. We want the EU to follow an understandable and rational train of thought. We want the EU to take steps in accordance with the steps we take for our sovereign rights. We are ready for unconditional talks with Greece and the EU to improve our relations. We support the joint declaration between the EU and Turkey on March 18th. Turkey is crucial in this region for security. The hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean could be the key to start cooperation in the region. We, as Turkey, are prepared for this. Thank you for listening.”