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Iran Press TV

Ankara denounces French president's 'arrogant' remarks on Turkey-Greece standoff in Mediterranean

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 10 September 2020 5:01 PM

Turkey has condemned "arrogant" comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron on the simmering standoff between Turkey and Greece over sea boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey and Greece, both of them NATO members, have been at loggerheads over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has dispatched a seismic research vessel – and warships to escort it – to an area in the sea that is disputed by Athens.

Greece, for its part, has ordered its naval vessels to shadow the Turkish ships. Earlier, one Greek and one Turkish naval vessel were even involved in a minor collision.

In a statement on Thursday, Turkey's foreign ministry said that "Macron has again made an arrogant… statement," adding that the French president's comments were in fact a sign "of his own weakness and despair."

Macron, who fully backs Athens in its growing standoff with Ankara, urged Europe earlier to show a united front against the "unacceptable" conduct of Turkey, saying Europe needed "to be clear and firm with the government of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan."

The French president, who was preparing to host a summit of several EU Mediterranean nations - EuroMed 7 - aiming to coordinate a tougher response to Turkey in its current standoff with Greece, also said that Turkish people "deserve something" different to the way their government currently behaved.

In its statement on Thursday, the Turkish ministry slammed Macron, who has sent a number of French warships to the region in support of Greece, for inflaming tensions "with his personal and nationalist attitude."

Separately on Thursday, Omer Celik, spokesman for Erdogan's Justice and Development (AK) Party, lashed out at the French president over his provocative comments, saying Macron is extending his France's long history of colonialism.

"Macron continues colonialism, while our president continues to defend the interests of the oppressed peoples, protect the peace, and frustrate the colonialists' games," wrote Celik, in a series of Tweets.

"This is an old and immoral game of the colonialists. They offered a false show of love to exploit the people, but targeted patriotic leaders," he added.

In an attempt to defuse the current tensions, Turkey has already said it is open to dialog but has stressed that negotiations should start without preconditions.

Reports on Wednesday said that Athens would submit a set of proposals for the establishment of a mechanism to help defuse the increasing tensions with Ankara to NATO on Thursday.

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