Turkey pledged on Friday not to remain silent on Greece's violation of the requirements of a longstanding agreement between Ankara and Athens that makes international waters in the Aegean Sea off limits to military training during the high tourism season.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic underlined Turkey's compliance with the 1988 Athens Memorandum of Understanding by not conducting naval drills in the Aegean from June 15 to Sept. 15.
He stressed that Greece did not change its behavior despite Turkey's warnings.
Turkey is committed to the Athens Memorandum of Understanding but should not be expected to watch the Greek side's violation of the deal with its hands tied, Bilgic said.
He added that Turkey had previously voiced its readiness multiple times to reciprocally lift the long-term drill zones in the Aegean.
Bilgic added that Turkey underlined at a second conference in Berlin on Libya that the country would not allow its trainers and advisers in Libya to be equated with illegitimate mercenaries.
Noting Ankara's support for the political process in Libya, Bilgic said the countries in the conference had reached agreement to a considerable extent.
He noted that Turkey voiced concern on some of the articles that contradict the facts on the ground, resulting in the addition of a clause to the memorandum that differentiated Turkish trainers and advisors from mercenaries in the North African country.
- International issues
Touching on the recent South-East European Cooperation Process and Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Bilgic said that following meetings at these events, Guinea-Bissau and Zimbabwe opened embassies in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Bilgic said that the balance of power in the world has been shifting towards Asia and added that certain problems, including terrorism, xenophobia and migration, had emerged during this shift.
A global perspective is needed in order to eliminate these problems he said, underlining that the discussions at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum would serve this global perspective and shape Turkish foreign policy.
He emphasized that Turkey's willingness to improve cooperation with Gulf countries and other countries in the region and said that Turkey's relations with Egypt were very important for regional stability and prosperity.
Cairo is also Ankara's biggest trade ally in Africa, noted Bilgic, pointing out that a friendship group between the two countries had recently been formed in the Turkish parliament.
He went on to say that Turkey intended to increase points of agreement on bilateral and regional issues and to develop mutual understanding.
- EU-Turkey migration deal
Bilgic voiced his criticism on the decisions taken by the EU to provide €3 billion ($3.6 billion) in a support for refugees in Turkey, arguing that the issue of migration could not be reduced into a financial dimension.
He added that Turkey's primary expectation was for the 2016 EU-Turkey migration deal to be updated in accordance with the current realities.
Underlining that the EU should take into notice of the burden shouldered by Turkey on the issue of migration, Bilgic said Ankara still expects to improve and strengthen ties with the EU.
He added that Ankara was maintaining its careful attitude as the €6 billion worth aid, which the bloc had promised Turkey for Syrian refugees under the 2016 deal, had yet to reach Syrians in Turkey.
Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees and provides international protection to 4 million people who fled the neighboring country.
The 2016 EU-Turkey was reached to stop irregular refugee flows and improve the conditions of refugees in Turkey.
The EU had pledged €6 billion aid for the refugees, and have transferred €4.1 billion according to EU statistics. The bloc will send the remaining €2 billion in the next years.
Reporting by Behlul Cetinkaya
Writing by Dilan Pamuk