Turkey ends joint mechanism with Greece over hostile stance

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey has ended the joint mechanism with Greece over hostile remarks of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the country’s inconsistent stance for dialogue efforts.

Çavuşoğlu said Greek politicians feel like they cannot please their public if they do not make aggressive remarks against Turkey at least five to 10 times a day.

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “no longer exists” for him after the latter’s remarks and criticism of Turkey during his recent trip to the United States. Erdoğan said Mitsotakis spoke against Turkey and urged the US Congress not to allow F-16 fighter jets to be sold to Ankara.

The top Turkish diplomat said Greece has to start disarming demilitarized islands in the Aegean.

“Turkey has issued necessary warnings and sent two letters to the UN regarding Athens’ violations,” he said, as he called on Athens to demilitarize islands to prevent a sovereignty debate.

Turkey and Greece are at odds over a number of issues, including competing claims over jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, air space, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus and the status of the islands in the Aegean Sea.

A dispute over drilling rights for potential oil and gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea led to a tense naval standoff in the summer of 2020. Greece has since embarked on a major military modernization program.

But the two countries also cooperate on energy projects, including a newly built pipeline that transports natural gas from Azerbaijan to Western Europe. The pipeline, which crosses Turkey and Greece, is part of Europe’s effort to reduce dependence on Russian energy.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

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.

Officials from both countries summarized exploratory talks in 2021 after a five-year pause to lay the groundwork for formal negotiations to begin but haven’t made much progress.

Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey may view Finland’s membership in NATO relatively more favorably than Sweden, but both countries need to meet expectations.

I have noted that the Foreign Ministry separately summoned French and German envoys over PKK terrorist group’s demonstrations in their countries.

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