Türkiye's success and visibility in the international sphere have been driving Greece crazy, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Wednesday.
Speaking at a news conference with diplomatic correspondents in the capital Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said this was the reason behind Greek provocations, including harassment of jets.
“Greece also wants Türkiye not to join the sanctions and tourist arrivals in the country,” the top Turkish diplomat added.
Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaties, saying that such moves frustrate its genuine efforts for peace.
Ankara has become a significant player in finding solutions to regional crises, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Syrian crisis, Libyan crisis and more. Türkiye facilitated the recent grain deal with the U.N. to deliver Ukrainian grain to the world to prevent a humanitarian crisis and restart talks between Russia and Ukraine.
Türkiye and Greece have been at odds over issues ranging from overflights and the status of Aegean islands to maritime boundaries and hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean, as well as ethnically split Cyprus.
Ankara has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months.
It has been strongly criticizing the growing Greek military buildup on islands in the Eastern Aegean, near the Turkish coast and in many cases visible from shore, and a growing U.S. military footprint in Greek border towns.
These islands must be demilitarized under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris, so any troops or weapons on the islands are strictly forbidden.
Çavuşoğlu also commented on the situation in the Caucasus, stating that Azerbaijan bolstered its gains at the peace table.
"Although Azerbaijan took control of the Lachin region, Armenia is planting mines and destroying the area as they withdraw from the region. This is also a sign that they don't have goodwill," he said.
Citing the latest border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Çavuşoğlu said the clashes reveal the fragility of the region and added that Armenia continues its provocations from time to time.
"Of course, it is not possible for Azerbaijan not to retaliate," he said.
The Turkish foreign minister said: "If we want lasting peace and stability here (in the Caucasus), Armenia should halt provocations and take sincere steps toward cooperation and peace, both for us and for Azerbaijan."
According to Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, the Armenian army carried out extensive provocations on the border cities of Dashkesan, Kalbajar and Lachin on Monday.
Armenian army saboteurs laid mines on land and roads between positions along the border, which scaled up the clashes resulting in casualties on both sides.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia, and the fighting ended with a deal brokered by Russia.
He further commented on Türkiye's role in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and affirmed that the country continues to carry out its inclusive foreign policy.
Çavuşoğlu further called for reforms in the international system to extend justice.