“Greek military exercises, provocative remarks pushed by other powers”

Greece’s military exercises as well as its provocative statements are not made only by themselves, but are stimulated by certain powers, said on Monday Justice and Development Party (AK Party) vice-chairman Numan Kurtulmuş .

“The main problem here is the unease felt by Turkey’s strong presence in the Mediterranean,” Kurtulmuş said during a media workshop.

More recently, Greece and the United States staged a joint military exercise in the Aegean Sea amid mounting tensions with Turkey.

The exercise comes a week after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that “Greece, as a whole, has become an American military base“.

The Turkish leader was referring to the numerous military installations of the United States in Alexandroupoli in Greece (Dedeağaç).

The two neighbors, NATO allies, disagree on a number of issues such as competing claims to jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, airspace, energy, the ethnically divided island of Cyprus and status. of the Aegean Islands.

Stressing that Turkey will not give up its rights in the region and will continue its presence, Kurtulmuş said: “Since some people are uncomfortable with Turkey’s existence, they express their dissatisfaction with of Turkey’s defense of its sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean, through the support they give to Greece, as they have always done for Greece.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime border claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

However, Ankara has repeatedly stressed its support for resolving all outstanding issues in the region, including maritime disputes, through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations. .

Kurtulmuş said Turkey’s deal with Libya underlines that Ankara will not give up its rights to oil resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

On November 27, 2019, the internationally recognized Libyan government signed a cooperation agreement on security and maritime border demarcation with Turkey.

The agreement also confirmed that Turkey and Libya are maritime neighbors. The delimitation starts from the southwest coast of Turkey of Fethiye, Marmaris and Kaş, and extends to the Libyan coast of Derna-Tobruk-Bardia.

On the other hand, another cause of tensions is the migration crisis in the region.

Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values ​​and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children .

13 irregular migrants repulsed by Greece were rescued Monday by the Turkish coastguard off the districts of Dikili (west of Izmir) and Kuşadası (Aydın province).

The rescued migrants were taken to the provincial migration directorate.

Turkey’s five Aegean provinces – Çanakkale, Balıkesir, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın – are favorite places for refugees leaving Turkey for the European Union, with the Greek islands within sight of the Turkish coast.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean Sea in an attempt to reach Northern and Western Europe in search of a better life.

Hundreds of people have died at sea as a number of boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard command saved thousands more.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants wishing to enter Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start a new life. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale refoulements, summary expulsions and denying migrants access to asylum procedures, in violation of international law. He also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to this flagrant violation of human rights.

Refoulements are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which stipulate that people must not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety could be in danger because of their race, religion, nationality or affiliation. to a social or political group.

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