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'An anti-Turkey alliance': Ankara slams Greece for hosting 'hostile' meeting with regional countries

Turkey brands Athens meeting between Greece and six other nations an attempt to form an alliance against it
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (L), speaks with Emirati minister Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy (R) and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (C) on 21 February in Athens (AFP)
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Ankara

Turkey has slammed a forum hosted by Greece in Athens along with six other nations, declaring it an attempt to form a “hostile” alliance against Ankara.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry specifically named Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, accusing him of "slandering" Turkey at the meeting, which took place in Athens with the participation of Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Cyprus.

“The baseless accusations and slander against Turkey voiced by the foreign minister of Greece during the press conference held at the conclusion of this forum, which is allegedly 'not pitted against anyone', demonstrates that this initiative is in fact an attempt to form an alliance built upon hostility towards Turkey, rather than 'friendship' as stated,” the ministry statement said.

“This attitude displayed towards Turkey is hostile, especially at a time when attempts to establish a sincere and inclusive cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean are being conducted through Turkey’s proposal for an international conference."

Greece said the initiative, formally called the Philia (Friendship) Forum, was an attempt to build a bridge between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, with the Balkans and the rest of Europe.

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During the forum Dendias warned there were “revisionist” forces in the region that threatened the consolidation of prosperity in the wider region.

“In order to achieve their goals, these forces carry out a number of illegal and irrational actions, such as the Turkish-Libyan memorandum,” he said regarding Turkey’s maritime deal with Tripoli which projected a wider exclusive economic zone for Ankara.

“They threaten or use force, occupy other countries’ territories, support extremist groups or extremist ideologies, support terrorism, interfere in the internal affairs of other states, with the ultimate goal of overthrowing unfriendly governments,” Dendias added.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece started to rise after a brief calm following Turkey’s decision to suspend its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean last year.

However, following the exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece last month in Istanbul, a war of words erupted between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the negotiations on Cyprus.

Erdogan earlier this week condemned Mitsotakis for describing the Turkish presence in Cyprus as a “foreign invasion”.

He said Mitsotakis was kicking over the negotiation table and challenging Turkey with his remarks.

However, the Greek side has dismissed Erdogan's statements as pure rhetoric and has stated its willingness to continue to hold talks, Mitsotakis said in an interview with Greek media on Thursday.