‘Turkey not accepting international law’, Greek FM says

Turkey does not accept international law over its gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said.

Greece wants to improve its relations with Turkey, Dendias told Euronews on Thursday, “But we have a problem, in order to solve an exercise [problem], we have to abide by the same rules,” he said.

Greece and Turkey disagree on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean and Aegean and have overlapping claims to hydrocarbon resources. Political and military tensions escalated in August when Turkey sent its Oruç Reis research vessel escorted by warships into a disputed area between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.

"Turkey should accept and abide by international law and accept and abide by the Convention on [the] Law of the Sea. On issues of international law, there cannot be many opinions. Something is legal or illegal. Something abides with international law [or] does not abide with it, " Dendias said.

Speaking about a joint press event with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara last week, where the two ministers had a public disagreement, Dendias said that the open exchange of opinions has “set the record straight”.

Tensions spiked during the press event after Dendias claimed that Turkey had violated his country’s rights. Çavuşoğlu responded by saying Dendias had made unacceptable allegations, sparking an angry back and forth between the two.

"Trying to make our relations better does not mean that Greece should not repeat what constitutes long time positions on issues of international law and I'm not speaking about contentious issues, it's just black and white,” Dendias said. He did however admit that the tone he used in the event was not something that he wanted.

On a question about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proposal to hold an international summit on the eastern Mediterranean, Dendias said that Greece is open to dialogue, as long as “Turkish incursions cease”.

"Denial is one thing. The truth is another. What they spoke about is something that cannot be considered contested: 400 flights over Greek territory,” he said.