Dendias and Kavusoglu accused each other of wrongdoing and spreading “false news” at a press conference.
The scandal over the first visit of a Greek foreign minister to Turkey two years ago. At a joint press conference on Thursday, Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşolu accused each other of misconduct in major disputes such as the gas dispute and immigration policy. Relations between the two countries have been strained for years.
The government in Athens accuses its neighbor of conducting illegal research on natural gas in the waters of the Greek Special Economic Zone. Ankara argues that the explored areas belong to the Turkish continental shelf and that Turkey has the right to exploit natural resources. The conflict brought the two countries to the brink of a military confrontation last year, but it has eased again recently.
Während beide Politiker zu Beginn der Konferenz noch eine positive und konstruktive Atmosphäre lobten, eskalierte das Gespräch schnell, nachdem Dendias die Türkei etwa ermahnte, keine “Fake-News” zu verbreiten zessen zu verbreiten, “be die wen to have”. In addition, “the Cyprus issue must be resolved once and for all” and refrain from “provoking this region as well.”
Kavusoglu, who had called his old friend Dendias at first, responded and said he wanted to have the conversation in a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately, Niko Dendias made in his letter totally unacceptable accusations against my country. He accused Greece of violating international law and “throwing people overboard.” The Turkish foreign minister said that they did not want to discuss this in front of the press, “but you are standing here and accusing Turkey in front of the press, of course, for carrying a message to your country. I cannot accept that.”
Ankara has repeatedly accused Greece of forcing migrants in the Aegean Sea to return to Turkish waters to prevent them from entering Greece. Athena has repeatedly admitted such allegations as “fake news”.
The Natural Gas Dispute
Regarding the gas dispute, Dendias accused Ankara of considering the expansion of the Greek maritime boundary from six to twelve nautical miles as a reason for war, although this expansion was covered by international maritime law. The Turkish parliament passed a similar decision in 1995. Referring to the Turkish search for natural gas in the disputed areas, he said: “If there are violations of our sovereignty, there are always sanctions in the room.
For his part, Cavusoglu accused Athens of not complying with international treaties on regional affiliations. Given the totality of disputes, Cavusoglu said that not all matters can be resolved in these meetings, “because our differences are strong, but nevertheless it is important that the dialogue continues.” “So from now on, are we going to discuss this together bilaterally or will we keep arguing? You have to make a decision.”
In the gas dispute between the two countries, the European Union threatened Turkey with sanctions. Then Ankara halted the search and tensions with Athens eased. At the end of January, after a five-year hiatus, the two countries resumed exploratory talks to settle the gas dispute. Ankara and Athens accuse each other of provocations.
At the end of March, the European Union decided to start preparations for expanding the customs union with Turkey in light of the détente. Both sides have a great economic interest in this. For example, trade could be boosted in the agriculture and services sectors.
Earlier, Dendias met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a 45-minute conversation at the Presidential Palace in Ankara. However, nothing was known at first about the content. The dispute between Cavusoglu and Dendias sparked a surprised response from the experts.
The last time a Greek foreign minister visited Turkey was in 2019. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu traveled to Crete alone in 2016. In 2017 he visited Greece with Erdogan – at that time he was still the Turkish prime minister.
The two foreign ministers had originally planned to meet on Wednesday, but the visit was later postponed for one day. Dendias met in Istanbul that day to hold a private conversation with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.
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