Turkish FM asks German counterpart not to take sides between Turkey and Greece
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked his German counterpart Baerbock not to take sides in the Aegean dispute between Turkey and Greece in a meeting they held in Istanbul, DW Turkce reported.
Just because one side of the conflict is a member of the European Union (EU), it would not be honest to accept everything they say as absolute truth, and the other side absolute wrong, Cavusoglu said.
Visiting the Greek capital Athens just before her visit to Turkey, Baerbock took an open stance in favor of Greece on the Eastern Mediterranean issue.
“Greek islands; Lesbos, Chios, Rhodes and many others are Greek territory and no one has the right to question it," Baerbock said.
Repeating similar statements at the press conference in Istanbul, Baerbock said that "the conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean cannot be resolved by escalating tensions."
Greece and Turkey are embroiled in disputes over a string of issues, including territory, airspace, the status of Aegean islands and hydrocarbon exploration rights in Eastern Mediterranean. The two NATO allies resumed talks last year, in an effort to resolve their differences, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month announced that Ankara has halted the bilateral initiative, after Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on the US Congress to reject to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in his visit to Washington D.C. in May.
German Foreign Minister also asked Turkey to implement European Court of Human Rights decisions, emphasizing Osman Kavala’s case.
Two weeks ago, The ECHR decided that Turkey had not complied with a ruling that called for the release of jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala, paving the way for Ankara's suspension from the Council of Europe.
In response to Baerbock, Cavusoglu said there were other countries including Greece who did not implement ECHR’s decisions but Germany did not say a word to them.
"Because you are using Osman Kavala against Turkey, you are funding him. We know how much the Gezi protests were funded", Cavusoglu said.
In 2013, The urban development plan for Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park sparked a wave of demonstrations and soon turned to civil unrest across Turkey protesting against a wide range of issues including the freedom of the press, of expression and of assembly, and erosion of secularism.
Kavala was accused of financing the protests but ECHR in February concluded that his arrest was based on political motives calling for his immediate release.