April 15, 2021 – 23:30
While something else was expected, the joint press conference between the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, following the visit of Greek Chief Diplomat Dendias to Ankara, took place amid a tense dialogue and bilateral accusations in front of the cameras.
The remarks began after Mr Cavousoglou, who stressed that issues dividing the two countries could be resolved through constructive dialogue, later referred to the Muslim minority in Thrace, whom he called Turks.
Dendias: For us – I must say this – there is a Muslim minority in Greece. This is recognized by the Treaty of Lausanne, this is the official view of the Greek state.
Cavusoglou: In his statement, Nikos Dendias unfortunately made some extremely unacceptable accusations against my country. He said Turkey violates Greece’s sovereign rights. It is not possible for us to accept this.
Dendias: I would be very impressed if you expected, dear Mevlüt, to come here to Ankara and present things as if nothing had happened in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece’s position is clear: Turkey has violated International Law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. And not only that, it has violated the sovereign rights of Greece.
Has made over 400 flights over Greek territory
Mevlüt. There is no legal provision allowing flying over Greek territory. I’m not talking about the sea.
The intervention of Mr. followed again. Cavusoglu, who spoke about human rights violations by Greece, while stressing that Ankara does not want to mention the over 80,000 push-backs of refugees at sea by Greek guards.
Cavusoglou: Turkey is obliged to defend its rights, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and those of the Turkish Cypriots; all the steps we take are aimed at protecting our rights.
Dendias: We are really looking for a positive agenda. This is the solution.
But a positive agenda means perceiving the other’s position. You raised two Mevlüt issues: The demilitarization of the islands. Why is there an army on the islands? There are because they are threatened by someone. The army costs money. We do not want to spend money for no reason. Is there anyone claiming at the moment that there is no military threat and landing force in front of the islands? If not here’s a new product just for you!
The two diplomats then realized that they could go on for hours in front of the cameras with accusations against each other, so they closed the tense meeting to attend a dinner hosted by the Greek delegation. Dendias, who invited his counterpart for a visit to Athens, also met for 45 minutes with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.