Athens should not turn to third parties over Turkey issues - foreign ministry

The Turkish foreign ministry on Sunday called on Greece to resolve issues with Turkey through dialogue, while urging Athens to avoid involvement of third parties in settling disputes between the two countries, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“Greece can only resolve its bilateral issues with Turkey by sitting at the table, cooperation, and dialogue,’’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said, “not by relying on others.”

Aksoy’s remarks arrive as Turkey and Greece remain at odds over a string of issues, including hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The two countries have overlapping claims of sovereignty over waters in the region.

European leaders are set to meet for an EU Council summit on Dec. 11.that will discuss tough sanctions against Turkey over the country’s maritime activities in the eastern Mediterranean.

Aksoy also addressed Greek media reports that Turkey has increased military activities in the Aegean and the Mediterranean ahead of the EU summit, Anadolu said.

“News on this matter is unrealistic,’’ it cited Aksoy as saying.  

“On the contrary, Greece continues its provocative and tension-escalating military activities in the region by announcing that it will perform 24 military activities in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean with the "11 NAVTEX" and "12 NOTAM" issued since Oct. 20, 2020,” Aksoy added, referring maritime and aviation notices issued by Greece.

The foreign ministry official also accused Athens of keeping the channels of dialogue closed on military issues, which he maintained prevents the NATO secretary general’s de-confliction initiative between Turkey and Ankara from moving further.

In Sept. NATO said Greece and Turkey had agreed to talks to ease their dispute over eastern Mediterranean borders and energy rights. Athens denied any deal on negotiations.