Greece and Cyprus have made the EU their hostage, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, adding that Cyprus was threatening to veto sanctions on Belarus if there are none imposed on Turkey.
In an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu, speaking ahead of a crucial EU Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, where both topics are on the table, said Ankara was just trying to defend its rights in the region.
“What does the decision on Belarus have to do with the Eastern Mediterranean?” he said. “They say ‘if you do not support us on this issue, even if we are wrong, we will veto other decisions’.”
Referring to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who is in Cyprus for the 60th anniversary of the Republic, the Turkish minister said although he considers him a close friend, they were unable to have a dialogue on the eastern Mediterranean situation. This was slowly changing however, he added, commenting on EU efforts for a broader conference on the region.
“However, we must be realistic, there are difficulties,” he added.
“In every EU policy there is a lack of unity and anti-Turkism. There are members who are trying to hold Turkey hostage in relations with the EU such as Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in southern Cyprus but we are also trying to defend our rights and those of the Turkish Cypriots”.
Despite the difficulties, Cavusoglu said Turkey had never set aside the possibility of diplomacy, but he accused Greece and Cyprus of losing opportunities “we gave to diplomacy”.
A list of points on which compromise could be easily reached was being prepared with a view to holding a wider conference on the region, but he said “all parties from Cyprus”, would have to be there either formally or informally. “But if the Turkish Cypriot side does not participate, it is not right for the Greek Cypriot side to participate either,” he said.
Cavusoglu said the issue of hydrocarbon sharing was simple and if it was resolved, fifty-one per cent of the Eastern Mediterranean’s problem would be solved”.