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Erdogan adviser accuses Germany’s Merkel of calling ‘Crusaders’ to the Mediterranean

Published: Updated:

Yasin Aktay, who advises Turkey’s Erdogan in his ruling AK Party, has accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of calling in “Crusaders” in the eastern Mediterranean, in reference to her call for all EU countries to support Greece.

“Despite the mediator role she has assumed, by calling EU countries to almost unconditionally stand with Greece, listen to and support it, she is openly stating with whom she stands,” Aktay, a deputy chairman of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, said in an op-ed article published on Monday under the title “Merkel calls the Crusaders to solidarity in the Mediterranean.”

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Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is escorted by Turkish Navy ships as it sets sail in the Mediterranean Sea, off Antalya, Turkey, August 10, 2020. Picture taken August 10, 2020. (Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters)
Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is escorted by Turkish Navy ships as it sets sail in the Mediterranean Sea, off Antalya, Turkey, August 10, 2020. Picture taken August 10, 2020. (Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Turkey on Tuesday said it is open to dialogue with Greece to solve disagreements over Mediterranean rights and resources as long as Athens is too, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

The NATO allies vehemently disagree over claims to potential hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea based on conflicting views on the extent of their continental shelves.

Greece has been at odds with neighboring Turkey over a range of issues including overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region, based on conflicting claims over the extent of their continental shelves.

Tensions escalated last month after Ankara dispatched the Oruc Reis seismic survey vessel in a disputed area following a pact between Athens and Cairo ratifying maritime boundaries.

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The latest comments from Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu offering to sit down with Greece over their dispute in the eastern Mediterranean are at odds with Aktay’s latest op-ed, published in Turkish, English and Arabic.

“If EU countries stopped for a second and gave Turkey a hearing, even if not as much as they listen to Greece, they would clearly see the injustice. The greed displayed by Greece in efforts to deprive Turkey of all its territorial waters due to the islands and take over them itself is very obvious,” Aktay said.

(With inputs from Reuters)