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Greek, Turkish Ministers Clash at Press Conference

Greek, Turkish Ministers Clash at Press Conference

Friday, 16 April, 2021 - 05:00
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, walks with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left following their joint media statement after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, April 15, 2021. (AP)

The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey on Wednesday exchanged accusations on a wide range of issues during a volatile press conference at the end of their first meeting in over a year.

The meeting between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias was ostensibly designed to show the two uneasy NATO neighbors trying to put aside their differences after a year of complex disputes.

The two countries teetered on the edge of all-out war when their gunboats collided while shadowing each other during a Turkish push into disputed eastern Mediterranean waters last August.

The press conference opened with conciliatory remarks from Cavusoglu in which he praised "the very positive dialogue" they just held in the Turkish capital, AFP reported.

But Dendias used his opening remarks to rattle off a series of longstanding complaints about Turkey - from its search from natural gas in contested waters to its treatment of the Greek Orthodox minority and the sides' ongoing dispute about migrants.

"Greece's position is clear and this is not the first time you have heard it," Dendias told Cavusoglu during a particularly heated moment in the 35-minute press conference.

"If you heavily accuse my country and people before the press, I have to be in a position to respond to that," Cavusoglu replied.

"If you want to continue our tensions, we can," Cavusoglu said.

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