Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the crisis with Greece over the status of the Kardak islets did not break out during the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) term.
Delivering a speech in Parliament Sunday, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that there has not been any change in the legal status of the Kardak islets since the 1996 Kardak crisis with Greece. At the same time, he called on the opposition to collaborate to find a solution to the issue rather than just bash the government.
"Whatever happened was before that [1996 crisis]. The AK Party is not responsible for this. It is on the parties that were in charge before the AK Party. Yes, we will try to sort this out as well, but don't put forward lies as if they were occupied during AK Party's term," he said.
The foreign minister's made the comments after he was questioned about ties with Greece by opposition deputies who implied the islets were invaded by Greece during AK Party governments.
The Kardak islets are a pair of two small uninhabited islets, situated between the Greek island chain of the Dodecanese and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey.
A military crisis between Turkey and Greece was triggered when a Turkish vessel shipwrecked on the islets on Dec. 25, 1995. Greece claimed that the accident took place on its territorial waters, which Turkey denied, claiming that the islets belonged to Turkey.
The Greek military sent a soldier to plant the Greek flag on an islet in the east, resulting in the deployment of troops from both countries around the islets.
Turkey's only female Prime Minister Tansu Çiller said at the time that Turkey was ready for a military operation and sent troops to the western islet to plant the Turkish flag.
Tensions were defused when then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, American delegates and the NATO undersecretary spoke with both sides and the situation was reverted back to normal.
Stressing that Turkey needs to decide on how it is planning to cope with the issue with the Greek side, Çavuşoğlu said there are three ways.
"It has alternatives: You can solve it through diplomacy, you can take it to international courts, or you can take all of them by sending troops," he said.
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