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EU support for Greece in disputes with Turkey contravenes int’l law, Foreign Ministry says

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Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has said the European Union’s “unquestioning support” for Greece in its long-standing disputes with Turkey over maritime borders on the grounds of membership solidarity contravenes the EU’s Acquis Communautaire and international law, local media reported on Tuesday.

Greece and Turkey have a fraught history going back centuries with disputes over maritime borders and the 1974 division of Cyprus.

The two uneasy NATO neighbors have long-standing sea and air boundary disputes that lead to near-daily air force patrols and interception missions mostly around Greek islands near Turkey’s coastline.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç released a written statement  on the ministry website on Tuesday, after Jan Lipavský, minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic, and Peter Stano, the European Commission’s foreign policy spokesman, reacted to recent statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the matter.

“The statements made by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and some other EU institutions … have no meaning and value for us. … It is a complete disgrace that those who made these statements ignore Greece’s violations, harassment and threats against our country and its provocative actions and rhetoric, and remain indifferent to its actions and practices against international law,” Bilgiç said.

He added that Turkey would continue to “resolutely protect its legitimate rights and interests in the Aegean and Mediterranean.”

Erdoğan on Saturday warned Greece it would pay a “heavy price” if it kept on harassing Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean and hinted at military action.

“When the time comes, we will do what’s necessary. As we say, we may come suddenly one night,” Erdoğan told a packed rally in the Black Sea city of Samsun, using his oft-repeated words when he threatens to launch an operation into neighboring Syria.

“Unacceptable threatening of EU member states, like the one addressed to Greece in President Erdogan’s recent public speech, is extremely unhelpful … ” the Czech Foreign Ministry tweeted Sunday.

Stano also said in a tweet that Erdoğan’s “[o]ngoing hostile remarks” raise serious concerns and fully contradict much-needed de-escalation efforts in the eastern Mediterranean, underlining that such threats and aggressive rhetoric were “unacceptable & must stop.”

“The EU reiterates its expectation from Turkey to seriously work on de-escalating tensions in a sustainable way … and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU Member States,” he added in a statement.

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