ANKARA 

Turkey on Thursday called on the EU to urge Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration for restraint rather than Turkey amid escalating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

“If the EU wants to be a part of the process that aims peace, prosperity and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, it must be objective and honest. As shared with the public earlier, the calls for restraint should be directed to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, which harm EU’s interests and escalate tension by exploiting the EU membership solidarity, rather than Turkey on the side of dialogue and cooperation,” Hami Aksoy, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said in a written statement.

His remarks came as a response to a statement by the EU following a videoconference on Wednesday.

Aksoy said the statement shows that the EU is “held hostage to the manipulation and blackmail of the two member states.”

He also stressed that Turkey will not abdicate its rights, yet, continue to support negotiations and respond to positive steps around good neighborly relations and in line with international law.

Turkey accuses Greece of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that its maritime claims violate sovereign rights of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the region.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating Turkey’s legitimate interests.

Turkey has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) — which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license — and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the only solution to the dispute lies through dialogue and negotiation, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

After Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal earlier this month, Ankara resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean in an area within the country’s continental shelf.

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