Ankara blasts 'Napoleon' Macron for interfering in row with Athens
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has blasted French President Emmanuel Macron over siding with Greece in Ankara’s row with Athens, accusing him of further exacerbating and fueling the dispute by trying to act like Napoleon.
“Mr. Macron is not contributing to a solution here,” Akar said on Friday during an interview with British Channel 4 News. "He is trying to take on the role of Napoleon, who died 200 years ago. But we can all see that he is neither powerful enough nor tall enough to do it.”
"We are not pursuing any kind of imperialistic aims. Here we are protecting our rights and the law," Akar further emphasized as quoted by the UK-based Express daily. "He is pouring fuel onto the problems and this is why the issue is being prolonged. Mr. Macron himself is dreaming.”
The latest tensions between Turkey and Greece stem from Ankara’s refusal to halt its energy exploration activities in a disputed portion of Eastern Mediterranean waters.
Asked whether his country will keep up with its energy research, Akar underlined, "Of course we will continue to do it. This is the right and law of out 83 million people and of the nation. This is not a threat against anyone."
Meanwhile, Turkey’s former Secretary-General of National Defense Ministry, Umit Yalim, insisted on Wednesday that Athens had no sovereignty over a group of Aegean islands and should evacuate their citizens living there immediately.
Speaking to the Turkish website Haber 7, Yalım said, "The legal status of the islands located in the north of the Aegean Sea was determined by the Six Great States Decision of 1914 and the Lausanne Treaty of 1923.”
Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Macron last week “not to mess” with Turkey as tensions between the two NATO allies surged, with Paris announcing that it would fully support Greece in the dispute and even threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey.