Türkiye reiterates vow to protect rights in Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus
Türkiye on Monday pledged to continue protecting its rights and interests in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean as well as on the Cyprus island, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"It is out of the question for us to stop protecting and maintaining our rights and interests in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, and on Cyprus," National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said during a visit to the Piri Reis submarine, one of the six Reis-class submarines of Türkiye.
He told the submarine personnel that "important and extensive duties" await the Turkish navy in the upcoming era.
Akar underscored the need for dialogue to overcome tensions by peaceful means.
Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region recently, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty obligations. Ankara says that such moves frustrate its good-faith efforts for peace.
Akar said Athens tries to create a negative image of Türkiye by using terms like "neo-Ottomanism, revisionism and expansionism." Türkiye, he said, urges consultation meetings with Greece and negotiations towards confidence-building measures.
"They are not coming. However, they are making all kinds of slander against us with false and unfounded claims," he added.
Urging Greece to take note of history, Akar said: "We will not allow any fait accompli or any violation of our rights by being provoked by Greece."
Responding to reports that Athens plans to extend territorial waters around the island of Crete to 12 nautical miles, Akar drew a red line against any expansion of Greek territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.