Cavusoglu: Greece must renounce the map of Seville
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stepping up her interventions to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and launch a dialogue between Greece and Turkey, just days before the EU Summit.
Following Merkel’s telephone conversation with the Greek Prime Minister on Wednesday, the German Chancellor had a teleconference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a statement from the Turkish Communications Directorate, the two leaders discussed issues related to the Eastern Mediterranean, bilateral and regional issues.
During the teleconference, according to the announcement, Erdogan told Merkel that European states must be fair and consistent in the Eastern Mediterranean issue.
He said differences could be resolved through negotiations if there is a fair approach to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey will continue to pursue an active policy on the country’s rights.
The Erdoganan-Merkel conference was attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, National Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and Head of the Cabinet Hasan Dogan.
Cavusoglu: Greece can turn this period into an opportunity
In an interview with CNN Turk, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that more moderate messages have started coming from Greece on the Eastern Mediterranean issue, but she has not abandoned her maximalist policies.
“The messages sent by the Greek Prime Minister in the last two to three days were more modest. More modest messages have started coming in recent days. Greece began to send a more positive message, taking advantage of the return of [Turkish seismic research vessel] Oruc Reis to the port of Antalya for replenishment and maintenance”.
“On the other hand, by saying ‘we want more of them’, they maintain their maximalist attitude”, he added. Noting that the exploratory talks launched after the Imia crisis (Kardak) in 1996 are an established mechanism for deciding how to resolve problems that cannot be resolved through agreements, Cavusoglu stressed, adding that not just one issue but all “Issues should be discussed in one package”.
“As our President told German Chancellor Merkel today, we have given diplomacy a chance in the past, but Greece has rejected it”, he added.
“Instead of expecting more from us, Greece can turn this period into an opportunity by taking positive steps. We say that Greece should not miss this opportunity, something she did in the past by signing an agreement with Egypt”, Cavusoglu added.
In addition, Cavusoglu noted that Turkey always reserves an inherent right in areas where the Oruc Reis conducts seismic surveys.
Regarding the map of Seville, which is used by Greece to isolate Turkey in an attempt to limit it to the Mediterranean coast, Cavusoglu said “first of all, Greece must declare that it does not accept this map. As long as this map remains, it is impossible to solve problems”.
The map, compiled by Professor Juan Luis Suarez de Vivero of the University of Seville in southern Spain, suggests that the maritime boundaries that Greece claims for the Aegean and the Mediterranean as its continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone by the Greek Cypriots in 2004 are referred to as the official borders of the European Union.
This map claims that the Greek continental shelf starts from the island of Kastelorizo (Meis) and goes south to the middle of the Mediterranean, which does not give Turkey space outside the Gulf of Antalya in southern Turkey.
Cavusoglu went on to say that Germany’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean is more objective and constructive, adding that “France wants to sell arms by increasing tensions”.
Concluding, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Greece has been arming islands under a civilian regime in the Aegean Sea since 1960 and stressed that Greece accepted the arming of the islands that it had always refused before 1974./ibna