Turkey in favor of good relations with Greece: Defense minister

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Turkey is in favor of a peaceful resolution of problems with Greece within the framework of international law and good neighborly relations, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on May 22.

“We’re in favor of a peaceful resolution of these problems within the framework of international law and good neighborly relations by talking and negotiating with our Greek neighbors,” he said while visiting TCG Anatolian Multi-Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship.

“However, our Greek neighbors are doing their best to sabotage the positive state of affairs with their actions and discourse,” he added.

It would be impossible for the two sides to make any progress with these “provocations,” Akar noted.

Last week, the minister said Turkey and Greece would have a meeting this week as part of confidence-building measures between the two neighbors.

“We will have a meeting with our Greek counterparts within the framework of confidence-building measures, albeit from a distance. We will once again express that we are waiting for them for the fourth meeting to be held in Ankara,” Akar told reporters on May 20.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Turkey and Greece were at loggerheads over territory and undersea energy resources last year after Ankara sent several drillships to explore energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish and Greek military officials launched talks to reduce the risk of conflict and accidents in the Aegean and Mediterranean under NATO auspices after months of tension. The two neighbors also resumed political discussions to resolve their differences.

Meanwhile, Akar said the Turkish forces neutralized 124 PKK terrorists amid ongoing operations in northern Iraq. Turkey launched Operations Pençe-Şimşek and Pençe-Yıldırım last month in the Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions in northern Iraq.

A total of 1,107 terrorists have been neutralized so far in 2021, Hulusi Akar said in his address at the Sedef shipyard in Istanbul.

Hurriyet Daily News

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