Turkey, Politics, World

Turkey in favor of talks to defuse tensions

Turkey's defense minister, top military leaders hold meeting at Syrian border

Sarp Ozer   | 06.06.2020
Turkey in favor of talks to defuse tensions

SANLIURFA, Turkey

Turkey wants to solve all problems in the Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus in accordance with international law, said the country's defense minister.

Hulusi Akar, flanked by Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler and top military commanders, arrived at Turkey's border with Syria for a meeting on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Akar said: “Let’s solve all the problems within the framework of good neighborly relations, based on mutual goodwill, respect, using peaceful means, and without encroaching on anyone's right.”

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.

He added: "In this context, the Turkish delegation went to Athens twice based on the agreement Turkey reached with Greece and a meeting was held there.

"Once they arrived in Turkey, we had a meeting here."

Since last spring, Ankara has sent two drilling vessels -- Fatih and most recently Yavuz -- to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the rights of Turkey and the TRNC over the resources of the region.

Athens and Greek Cypriots have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships’ crews and enlisting EU leaders to join their criticism.

The Turkish defense minister went on to say: “Everyone should know that Cyprus is our national cause. It has to be kept in mind that a fait accompli is out of question in that case.”

The Cyprus problem has remained unresolved for decades despite a series of efforts by the United Nations, while recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have further complicated the problem.

The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece.

Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 had stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

*Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara

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