Turkey blames France for “bullying” East Mediterranean

Turkey is going after its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, not seeking tension, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, accusing France of “bullying” the region.

“There are those coming from thousands of kilometers away for bullying, claiming rights, and playing the role of a guardian angel. These are unacceptable. They will go where they have come,” he told reporters during a visit to the Combined Air Operation Center in the central Anatolian city of Eskisehir on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Greece and France, with the support of the European Union (EU), made “illogically claims,” the minister said.

Akar said that the Greek government “militarizes” the Aegean islands in violation of international law, emphasizing that Ankara urges dialogue despite all these violations.

The minister criticized France for interfering in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the problem is between Turkey and Greece.

Athens and Ankara have been at odds over hydrocarbon rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey dispatched its seismic survey vessel, escorted by Turkish warships, to the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a maritime border agreement for the region.

Greece, which has called on Turkey to withdraw vessels from the area, also deployed warships to monitor the vessel.

France criticized Turkey’s stance and sent reinforcement to the Eastern Mediterranean in support of Greece.