Türkiye in favor of 'peaceful, prosperous' future with Greece: National defense minister

Fri, 17 Nov 2023 6:08 GMT
'We believe that we are going through historic period in development of our relations with Greece,' says Yasar Guler.
Türkiye in favor of 'peaceful, prosperous' future with Greece: National defense minister

Turkish National Defense Minister Yasar Guler on Thursday said that Ankara is in favor of "peaceful and prosperous" future with Greece.

"Our neighbor Greek people should be assured that Türkiye is in favor of a peaceful and prosperous future with Greece," Guler said during his address in parliament in the capital Ankara.

However, he emphasized that Türkiye will never compromise on its national interests while striving for a peaceful solution.

"I would like to state very clearly that we are fully determined to protect our rights and interests in our blue homeland," he added.

Turning to the confidence-building measures meeting between Türkiye and Greece, Guler said it was a good opportunity to further develop relations with Greece.

"Negotiations between the delegations, which had been suspended for more than two years, were restarted, and a consensus was reached at the meeting to continue these negotiations next year," he added.

Delegations from Türkiye and Greece on Monday held a new round of discussions focused on confidence-building measures in Ankara.

"We believe that we are going through a historic period in the development of our relations with Greece, and that a solution-oriented approach and an honest and constructive relationship will benefit both countries," Guler said.

Türkiye and Greece have experienced a tumultuous relationship over the years. Although 2021 saw some improvements, several issues remain unresolved between the two neighboring countries.

Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has protested repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent years, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under longstanding treaties, saying that such moves frustrate its good faith efforts toward peace.

Call for humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza

About the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, Guler said that an immediate humanitarian cease-fire needs to be declared and attacks against civilians should stop.

"Violating international law in this way, killing children and women in hospitals, schools, sacred places, refugee camps … and turning the incident into brutality is a war crime and can never be accepted," he added.

Türkiye will continue to do its part in humanitarian aid and make diplomatic initiatives to stop the attacks on Gaza, the minister said.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 11,500 Palestinians have since been killed, including more than 7,800 women and children, and more than 29,200 injured, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities.

Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel's relentless air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.

Fight against terrorism

Türkiye has "neutralized" a total of 1,868 YPG/PKK terrorists since the beginning of this year, including those hiding out across the border in Iraq and northern Syria, Guler said.

"All our operations in Syria and Iraq are carried out in line with our right to self-defense arising from Article 51 of the UN Charter while respecting the sovereign rights and territorial integrity of our neighbors," he added.

Türkiye has taken all precautions to prevent harm to innocent civilians, friendly elements, historical and cultural assets, and the environment, the minister stressed.

"All elements of PKK/KCK, PYD/YPG and Daesh/ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which pose a threat to our country and our noble nation, are our legitimate target from now on, as they have been until today," Guler said.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the terrorist PKK's Syrian branch.


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