Turkey lashed out at Germany over Greece and Cyprus during a joint Press conference by the Turkish and German Foreign Ministers in Istanbul on Friday.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was on a visit to Istanbul, Turkey after having visited Athens, Greece.
Following talks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Baerbock had stated that no one has the right to dispute the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands near the Turkish coastline—a remark which appeared to have angered Turkey.
“We want Germany to maintain its balanced stance in the issue of the east Mediterranean and the Aegean,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that Berlin “should not be a tool for provocation and propaganda, especially by Greece and [the Greek-Cypriot] side.”
“In the past, Germany has played an honest mediating role in this process, with a balanced attitude,” he concluded. “But in recent times, we have seen that this balance has unfortunately been lost. We have to listen to both sides.”
“We cannot solve the problems of the east Mediterranean by escalating tensions,” his German counterpart responded.
“For partners in an alliance, in my view, it goes without saying that we respect each other’s borders,” Minister Baerbock said. “It is, therefore, important to me that we do not drift apart politically in this moment.”
Germany addresses Turkey’s claims about Aegean islands
Earlier on Friday, German Foreign Minister Baerbock told reporters in Athens that “Lesbos, Chios, Rhodes and many, many other islands…are Greek territory, and no one has the right to dispute this.”
During their talks, her Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, had expressed Athens’ concerns about the exports of German armaments, especially that of the 214-type submarines, to Turkey, stressing that these submarines risk changing the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Minister Dendias had pointed out that while Greece had the same submarines, it was “neither threatening its neighbors nor behaving as a revisionist force,” adding that Turkey, despite being a member of NATO, was openly threatening Greece with war, issuing a casus belli against it, constantly violating its sovereignty and sovereign rights, and illegally occupying the territory of Cyprus, an EU member-state.
France sides with Greece in sovereignty dispute
Also on Friday, France reiterated its position as an ally and friend that will stand by Greece before threats against its sovereignty, French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna said after meeting with her Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, in Paris.
Merci cher @NikosDendias pour ta visite à Paris et nos échanges sur la relation stratégique 🇫🇷🇬🇷. Nous avons aussi évoqué la Méditerranée orientale, la guerre en #Ukraine 🇺🇦, la souveraineté énergétique 🇪🇺 et les enjeux régionaux. pic.twitter.com/oVc2b9Fb40
— Catherine Colonna (@MinColonna) July 29, 2022
She stated that France will closely follow developments and assured Greece of its commitment.
This was the first meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Greece and France since the formation of a new government in France following legislative elections held in June. Hence, the newly appointed Minister Colonna assured her Greek counterpart that she would continue the collaboration Dendias had with her predecessor, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
In statements to the Press after their meeting, Minister Colonna referred to the region of the Eastern Mediterranean as one of great interest to Greece and France but a region of tension, as well.