Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday criticized neighbor Greece's stance on the issue of the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that Turkey will not allow its rights and interests to be ignored. Speaking at a televised interview, the top diplomat said that Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is "crying like a kid."
Çavuşoğlu said that the Greek top diplomat complains about Turkey at every possible opportunity in international meetings. "These are all due to an inferiority complex," he said, underlining Athens' efforts to get third parties involved in the Eastern Meditereran tensions.
Underlining that Turkey will not allow any power move to change the balance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Çavuşoğlu said: “We are in favor of international law. We are in favor of fair sharing. When they try to take our rights, we do what is necessary on the field and at the table. On the right path, we will go to the end to defend our rights.”
Emphasizing Greece's constant complaints about Turkey, Çavuşoğlu said: “We know that he (Dendias) calls the foreign ministers twice a day and complains about Turkey. The Greek foreign minister is still crying like a child. As we show that we are defending our rights because we have stopped the games against us in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greek foreign minister feels the need to whine at least five times a day and constantly complain about Turkey."
Referring to the statements made by Dendias on NATO relations with Turkey, Çavuşoğlu said: “Who is making the accusations against Turkey? Greece, which does not contribute properly to NATO, is doing it. What does it contribute to NATO? Turkey is in the top five in terms of participation in NATO missions and activities, and in the top eight in terms of contribution to its budget. Doesn't Greece have good relations with non-NATO countries? France initiated the search within NATO. Especially in the EU, it has made an effort to create a separate power.”
Tensions are once again rising between Turkey, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration over maritime borders and drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean after several months of relative calm.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims made by European Union members Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Both sides cite a range of decades-old treaties and international agreements to support their conflicting territorial claims.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations. Instead of opting to solve problems with Ankara through dialogue, Athens has, on several occasions, refused to sit at the negotiation table and has opted to rally Brussels to take a tougher stance against Turkey.
The two NATO allies have been at odds over issues such as competing claims over jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, air space, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus and the status of islands in the Aegean.