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Friday 16 April 2021

Turkish and Greek FM Trade Accusations at Press Conference

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  3 forum posts

ANKARA (Ruptly) — Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu traded accusations during a tense joint press conference in Ankara on Thursday.

Speaking after their first meeting in over a year, the two diplomats exchanged heated words after Dendias criticised Turkey over a range of issues, including the country’s search for natural gas in disputed waters, its treatment of the Greek Orthodox minority, and the ongoing dispute regarding migration.

At the end of the conference, Dendias invited Cavusoglu to Athens, and the two ministers left the podium with smiles on their faces despite the earlier confrontation.

Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads for over a year after Turkish research vessels conducted oil and gas exploration missions within waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus, with maritime boundaries between the two countries being a long-running source of contention.

Nikos Dendias, Greek Foreign Minister (Greek):

Of course I mentioned, and I think we all agree on this, that a necessary precondition for the improvement of bilateral relations is the de-escalation and the avoidance of actions and statements that raise tensions. I think I’m not saying something new when I tell you that up until a few months ago there was a dramatic increase in illegitimate actions, putting a burden on efforts to cultivate the atmosphere of trust that today we are striving for.


You will allow me to refer specifically to a topic that unfortunately affects our bilateral relations negatively, but also Turkey’s accession talks [with the EU]: this is the threat of war in case Greece implements its inalienable rights that derive from the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international law. Turkey’s stance goes against the UN Charter and is not fitting for a NATO ally or for good neighbourly relations and the promotion of these relations. Turkey continues to reject the UNCLOS that not only reflects our national rights, but has been ratified by the EU and thus forms part of the acquis communautaire. Such an example of non compliance is the well-known memorandum signed between Turkey and Libya, which has been condemned by the European Council because it violates the sovereign rights of third countries and goes against the Law of the Sea.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister (Turkish):

’Once again, I thank Mr. Nico Dendias. I did not make any incriminating remarks about Greece in my speech. But while we wished this first meeting would continue in a more positive atmosphere, Nico Dendias made some very unacceptable accusations against my country in his speech. First of all, he said that Turkey is violating Greece’s sovereign rights, and it is not possible for us to accept this. The Republic of Turkey is able to protect its rights, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkish Cypriot rights, and the steps we have taken are aimed at protecting our rights.


We haven’t used the issue of migration against either the European Union or Greece so far. We followed the humanitarian base regarding the refugee conventions signed so far, but the EU did not follow them. Inside we told you how you sent back 80,000 people to Turkey in four years and how you threw those into the sea. But we didn’t get all these things out here before the press. You, nevertheless, venture to blame Turkey so that you can convey some of your messages to your country. However, I can’t accept this. We all here tried to handle all topics, including the press conference, in a frank manner by giving positive messages. Despite all these points, we put efforts to have dialogue as two countries rather than with their parties’ intervention to minimise discrepancies between our approach to the issues. We are ready to strengthen our co-operation, but I have to answer back if you accuse my country and nation here. Thank you!

  Forum posts

  • The Turkish FM is world class. Next to him Dendias is pitiful. A small country like Greece wants to fight against a big power like Turkey. Even France tried against us, but lost. You have to accept it, this region of the Mediterranean has always been under our control and will remain so forever.

  • Eventually, the Turks will be swept away by the Kurds, an Indo-European population, ethnically related to Europe.

  • Turkey’s plan is to allow millions of migrants to cross their border into Europe. Greece is holding back the tidal wave... for now.

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