Greece accuses Turkey of delaying foreign minister`s plane

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Turkey on 6 October 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Turkey on 6 October 2020

Germany and Greece criticized Turkey on Tuesday of undermining efforts for dialogue between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Greece and Turkey after sending a survey ship back into a disputed region in the eastern Mediterranean.

"We are forced to note that there are permanent acts of provocation on the part of Turkey which are not bearable, and therefore we really wish that Turkey clarifies its positions and returns to a spirit of dialogue", he said.

President Erdogan's comments come as the Oruc Reis research vessel has again set sail in the Eastern Mediterranean sea to conduct seismic research for potential natural resources, a move that had led to increased tensions between Turkey and Greece earlier this year. Those talks were last held in 2016.

Those tensions had flared up over the summer, prompting a military buildup, bellicose rhetoric and fears of a confrontation between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members and historic regional rivals.

According to him, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will raise the issue of sanctions against Turkey at the upcoming Summit on October 15, 16.

"Turkey remains consistent in its provocative and aggressive behavior".

European Union member Cyprus is also furious that Turkish Cypriot authorities have partially reopened the beach town of Varosha, a former resort area fenced off and abandoned in no man's land since a 1974 Turkish invasion that split the island.

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During his recent brief meeting with his Greek counterpart, the Turkish foreign minister had promised to propose a date for the 61st round of exploratory talks to be held in Turkey.

Maas arrived in Athens on Tuesday following a visit to Cyprus.

Varosha remained off-limits and in Turkish military control after its Greek Cypriot residents fled before advancing troops in 1974 when Turkey invaded and sliced the island along ethnic lines following a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

State TV ERT said the plane carrying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was forced to circle for 20 minutes late Wednesday near the Iraqi city of Mosul before being allowed passage by Turkish aviation authorities.

He stated that the Turkish authorities had approved Greece's request immediately and without delay.

Turkey denied the accusation, saying the aircraft had taken off from Iraq without a flight plan but had been allowed to pass once one was procured.

In Athens, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said the Greek foreign ministry had "taken the necessary actions with a [diplomatic] protest".

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