“It is not possible to give up our rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean just because sanctions will come or because the EU will criticize us,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told lawmakers during 2021 budget debates in parliament.
Çavuşoğlu touted Turkey’s active foreign policy, saying: “If no one can move counter to Turkey in Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, or Afghanistan, this comes from its active foreign policy.”
Turkey will continue to stand by dialogue in its foreign policy, he said.
“We have worked to protect our country’s interests, but also we have always provided peace and justice on the ground,” he added.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Ankara has sent drillships in recent months to explore for energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.
Greece exploiting naval alerts: Turkish defense minister
Greece is exploiting the system of Navtex naval alerts in defiance of good neighborly relations, Turkey’s defense minister said Dec. 14.
“This issue is extremely exploited by our neighbor. Dozens of Navtexes were announced in three months. Only two of them were used and the others not. This is harassment. This is extremely contrary to good neighborly relations,” Hulusi Akar told top commanders in a video conference.
A Navtex, or Navigational Telex, is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area as well as other information.
On developments in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Akar reiterated that Turkey is in favor of finding political solutions to problems as well as good neighborly relations and dialogue.
Underlining that being in favor of good neighborly relations should not be misunderstood, Akar added that it does not mean making compromises. Turkey will continue to defend its rights in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
Hurriyet Daily News