As Turkey and Greece took a recourse back to the channel of diplomacy this year by renewing long-stalled talks over the disputed zones in the Aegean Sea amid ensuing tension in the Mediterranean recently, both sides seem to be fighting against a windmill. The lingering discord could not be revealed more clearly when foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece publicly sparred in front of cameras in a mishandled press conference in Ankara on Thursday.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was in Ankara for talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to explore ways to mend tense ties between the two NATO allies. But what started as a promising initiative unexpectedly devolved into a trade of barbs between two diplomats when they set out to inform the press over the latest state of relations.
In his opening remarks, Cavusoglu sought to portray a positive meeting they held prior to the press session. The Turkish chief diplomat exuded ample optimism about moving beyond the rancor of the recent years that came close to a boiling point when Turkish and Greek navy ships set on a collision course on more than one occasion in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean, the major hub of conflict between Turkey and Greece.
The disputes, he asserted, would be resolved via constructive dialogue without creating a fait accompli on the ground. On another divisive issue that bedevils ties since the onset of the Turkish Republic, Cavusoglu stressed the wellbeing of the minorities living in both countries.
“It is in our interests that minorities in both countries live in peace, it will have a positive impact on our relations,” he underscored, according to Al Jazeera.
Oddly enough, his casual emphasis on the dialogue for conflict resolution appeared to have provoked his guest — Nikos Dendias — who unleashed a series of accusations against the Turkish foreign minister. Dendias’ fiery charges unwittingly set the stage for a tense press…