Sep 23, 2020 08:28 UTC
  • Turkish VP says Greek president should drop discourse of war

Turkey says Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou should drop the discourse of war and adopt one of peace, as tensions continue between Ankara and Athens over maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay made the comment on Tuesday in response to Sakellaropoulou’s remark earlier in the day on an official visit to the island that Turkey was an “invader” in Cyprus.

Oktay called the Greek president’s comment a “funny and futile propaganda effort, and also a provocation,” Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported.

The Turkish vice president said that if Athens and the Greek Cypriot administration intended to hold negotiations on a two-sovereign-state solution in Cyprus, Ankara would support the initiative.

Greece and Turkey almost went to war in 1974 over Cyprus, which has since been divided, with the northern third run by a Turkish Cypriot administration recognized only by Turkey and the southern two-thirds governed by the internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government.

Greece says Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern part of Cyprus in 1974. Turkey says it intervened to thwart what it says was a coup aimed at facilitating the annexation of Cyprus by Greece.

Recently, Turkey has been involved in a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over prospecting for energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions erupted when Turkey started sailing a seismic research vessel in a disputed area of the sea last month. While Ankara has withdrawn that vessel for maintenance and to give diplomacy a chance, it has said the ship will return after the maintenance work.

The European Union (EU) has entered the fray, resolutely taking sides with member states Greece and Cyprus and threatening to impose punitive sanctions on Turkey.