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Greece missed an opportunity for dialogue, says Türkiye communications director

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ANKARA

The Greek government led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis did not take advantage of Türkiye’s offer of dialogue, the Turkish communications director said.

In an interview with the Greek daily Kathimerini, published on Sunday, Fahrettin Altun assessed relations between Ankara and Athens, the current tension on the Aegean Sea and the militarization of the eastern Aegean islands.

“Our president gave the Mitsotakis government a chance and opened channels for dialogue. The Greek prime minister did not take advantage of this opportunity,” Altun said.

Altun said Turkey wants to have “good relations with all its neighbors and ensure peace and stability in the region.”

Asked about the possibility of a meeting between Erdogan and Mitsotakis, Altun said: “I don’t think there will be such a meeting under the current conditions.”

“Despite promising not to include third countries in bilateral relations, Mitsotakis sent anti-Türkiye messages to the United States,” he said, adding: “Greece is not hurting itself only by opposing the Türkiye in an interested way or by relying on third countries”.

Altun said resolving disputes within the framework of diplomacy and international law will be particularly in the interests of the Greek people.

– Tension on the Aegean Sea

Commenting on allegations that Turkish planes violated Greek airspace, Altun said: “Greece has been the party responsible for the escalation of tension over the Aegean Sea for months.

“You would have seen Turkish warplanes flying over the Attica peninsula if Turkey had decided to play such a dangerous game as Greece. But we don’t have such a problem.”

Altun stressed that Turkey will not be the one to exacerbate regional tensions, but “we have the resources and the capabilities to respond to any movement.”

– Militarization of the Eastern Aegean Islands

Speaking on Greece’s violation of the non-military status of the Eastern Aegean islands and international treaties, Altun said: “By arming the islands with a non-military status, Greece violates international conventions.

“It is absurd to imagine that Turkey will not denounce Greece’s illegal actions on such an issue,” he added.

Greece will only hurt itself by opening the discussion on current international agreements, he said, referring to the Lausanne peace treaty and the 1947 Paris peace treaty.

Turkey has rejected Greece’s militarization of the islands from the start, protesting Greece’s policy of violating the islands’ non-military status since the 1960s.

Ankara issued protests through diplomatic channels and demanded an end to the violations. The issue came on the agenda of the UN and NATO in the 1970s.

The latest Turkish diplomatic initiative was to send a letter of complaint to the UN in July 2021, claiming that the militarization of the islands posed a serious threat to Türkiye’s security.

– Türkiye’s New Drillship

Responding to whether Türkiye’s drillship Abdulhamid Han will begin operations in August, Altun said: “It’s up to Turkey to decide for itself as a sovereign state where our drillships would operate. “

Nobody should be disturbed by the activities that Türkiye will carry out with its own vessels in accordance with international law, he added.

Türkiye has undertaken drilling activities in its waters for the past four years.

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