Turkish Defense Minister meets Greek counterpart in NATO meeting
Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday met with his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos as part of NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, amid increasing tension between the neighboring countries over disputes on the Aegean Sea.
During the meeting at NATO’s headquarters, the two leaders discussed regional defense and security issues, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu reported without giving further detail.
A statement from the Greek Defense Ministry said that “The importance was underlined of maintaining open channels of communication, meetings between the two sides, and the need to create a climate of stability in the region on the basis of international law and good neighborly conduct.”
Greek government sources said the meeting between the two ministers took place in a positive atmosphere and lasted 40 minutes, Kathimerini reported.
During the meeting, Panagiotopoulos explained that the tension between the two countries cannot be deescalated as long as the Turkish side continues to engage in aggressive rhetoric and threats that go as far as questioning Greek sovereignty, sources told Kathimerini.
Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has also underlined the importance of maintaining open communication and holding meetings with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministers Summit in Brussels.
The Turkish defense minister also met with his US, German, French and British counterparts.
Following the meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group, Akar separately met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin and German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht.