Greek FM Dendias' remarks disrespectful, fanaticism: AK Party spox

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesperson late Thursday criticized Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ remarks made earlier in the day during a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in the capital Ankara, saying those who defend lies about Turkey to further their own country’s political aspirations will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

Releasing a message on his Twitter account, Ömer Çelik said that disrespect and fanaticism are not diplomatic methods. “Disrespect and dialogue cannot come together. Where fanaticism takes place, there will be no diplomacy,” he said.

“Those who defend lies produced about Turkey as their own state’s thesis will find themselves on the tragic side of history. Regardless of who it is, the theses of a state cannot be defended with lies and fanaticism,” Çelik said.

“We have often seen those who put their own state in this situation in our nearby region. Those who produce lies about Turkey have no other address but a dead-end street. We know very well how to fight fanatics,” he added.

Thursday’s news conference opened with conciliatory remarks from Çavuşoğlu in which he praised “the very positive dialogue” they just held in the Turkish capital.

But Dendias used his opening remarks to rattle off a series of longstanding complaints about Turkey – from its search for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean to its treatment of the Greek Orthodox minority and the sides’ ongoing dispute about migrants.

“It is in our interests that minorities in both countries live in peace, it will have a positive impact on our relations,” Çavuşoğlu said. He replied to his Greek counterpart’s accusations with regard to alleged violations of sovereignty and remarks over minorities.

Çavuşoğlu also announced that they have agreed to meet in Geneva at the end of this month.

“We will continue to work together to improve Turkey-Greece relations,” the Turkish foreign minister said adding that Turkey believes that disputes with Greece can be resolved “through constructive dialogue.”

The two NATO allies have been at odds over decades-old issues including the extent of air and maritime boundaries in the Aegean Sea and the future of the divided island of Cyprus. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots ruled out discussing a federal system to reunify the island, insisting that a two-state accord is the only way forward. Turkey has also been irked by Greece’s militarization of islands close to the Turkish mainland.

Dendias earlier also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in an indication of the visit’s importance.

The visit is the first between the two nations after tensions rose high in 2020 over maritime boundaries and energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, leading to a military buildup that featured warships from the two countries facing off.

Recently, the two NATO allies have adopted a more conciliatory tone and have been seeking dialogue that needs to be maintained, as stressed by Çavuşoğlu during the press conference.