An acrimonious verbal clash between the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers on Thursday, who publicly spread their differences on several issues during a press conference in Ankara.
Read also: France reaffirms its support for Greece against Erdogan's Turkey
The Turkish Mevlut Cavusoglu and the Greek Nikos Dendias notably opposed before the cameras on maritime borders, migrants and the treatment of minorities during a press conference following a visit to Ankara by the Greek minister supposed to consolidate the dialogue initiated by the two countries to resolve their disputes.
"If you bring such heavy accusations against my country and my people, I am obliged to answer them"
, fulminated Melvut Cavusoglu, visibly exasperated by statements of his Greek counterpart.
Nikos Dendias notably criticized Turkish activities in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean and what he sees as a flawed application by Ankara of an agreement on migrants with the European Union.
"Greece's position is clear and this is not the first time you have heard it: Turkey has violated in the Aegean Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean international law and the (international) sea convention and rights even rulers of Greece, Turkey carried out 400 flights over Greek soil ”
, he declared.
On the issue of migrants, Melvut Cavusoglu defended himself by asserting that Turkey had behaved in a
and accused Athens of having
"returned 80,000 people in the past four years".
He further claimed that Ankara's activities in the Eastern Mediterranean were aimed at
"protecting the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots".
"We have our differences on these subjects but if you come here to accuse Turkey when we had agreed to discuss these files, I am obliged to answer"
, he added, qualifying on several occasions the remarks of his. Greek counterpart of
Read also: Greece-Turkey: the Thousand Years War
Tensions between the two neighboring countries and members of NATO, with historically delicate relations, have worsened in recent years due in particular to gas drilling carried out by Turkey in Greek waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
Their relations are also poisoned by reciprocal grievances over the treatment of Muslim minorities in Greece and Orthodox in Turkey, as well as by the management of migratory flows at the land and sea borders of the two countries.
In this context, Greek and Turkish officials have resumed
discussions this year in
order to resolve some of their differences.