Turkey’s foreign minister, Melvut Cavusoglu, pointed to diplomacy to resolve Turkey’s differences with Greece in the Aegean. In his speech to the Turkish Parliament, the Turkish minister replied to opposition MPs, who spoke of an “illegal occupation” of islands by Greece.
“We must not practice patriotism on such an issue. If you do, it damages previous parties that did nothing for it, not the AKP. I have proposed that we discuss behind closed doors and inform the party leaders. When have you call me? After the Imia crisis in 1996 there has been no change in the legal status of the islands. Everything had been done before. Do not lie about that these islands were captured under the rule of the AKP”, Cavusoglu said.
The foreign minister pointed out that Turkey “should decide how to solve these problems by discussing with Greece. There are three alternatives. Either find a solution through diplomacy, either resort to the international court, or send an army and take the islands”.
Cavusoglu has made it clear that since the time of Ismail Cem (Turkey’s former foreign minister), Turkey continues to choose the path of diplomacy with Greece. “If we do not reach an agreement the Parliament will decide on the alternatives and we will implement them. But this is a national policy. This is not an issue that will be discussed in the corridors and be used to put someone in a difficult position. We have formed a team of military personnel at the Ministry of National Defense. We are discussing the problem and what steps we can take. It is more beneficial to reduce tension than to increase it”, the Turkish minister concluded.