Turkey has condemned French President Emmanuel Macron over his “arrogant” remarks made with “colonial reflexes.”

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Macron endangers EU interests with his “individual and nationalistic stance.”

Macron’s statement seeks “to give lessons by speaking pedantically with his old colonial reflexes,” the statement added.

Earlier today, ahead of a summit of EU Mediterranean states which excluded Turkey, Macron reportedly said: “We must be tough with the Turkish government and not with the Turkish people, who deserve more than the Erdogan government.”

The ministry added that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the leaders in Europe elected with the largest winning vote.

“Our president has always drawn his power from the Turkish people. The Turkish people and the government have always had one heart in the face of such delusions and will continue to do so,” the statement added.

Turkey calls on France to “take a stand in favor of reconciliation and dialogue,” instead of “blindly acting as advocates of Greece and the Greek Cypriots, who take unilateral and provocative steps and take the EU hostage for their narrow-minded interests,” the statement added.

“This is a requirement of our Europeanness and our NATO Alliance,” the ministry said, referring to Turkey and France both being members of NATO.

Regional tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. Macron has interceded in support of Athens, despite lacking any Eastern Mediterranean coastline.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Dialogue for sharing these resources fairly would be win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

Turkey expects EU to be ‘honest broker’ in East Med

Turkey’s foreign minister said Thursday that his country expects the European Union to act as an “honest broker” in the Eastern Mediterranean region. 

“If you are part of the problem, how can you mediate between Turkey and Greece, or between Turkish and Greek Cypriots?” said Mevlut Cavusoglu while addressing the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations via video link from Senegal. 

Cavusoglu said the EU has assumed the role of a judicial authority defending the claims of one side in the Eastern Mediterranean and its position was unjust and not in line with international law. 

He noted that the European organization and Ankara were not on the best of terms, but this should not stand in the way of establishing a sincere dialogue channel. 

Critical of the Greek Cypriots’ ascension to the EU in 2014, he further noted that Greece and Greek Cypriots had poisoned Turkey’s strategic relations with the EU by absorbing the latter into its maximalist agendas. 

In addition to Greece and Greek Cypriots, according to Cavusoglu, other countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, France and even an outside actor -- the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- have recently sought to forge alliances isolating Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the region. 

He underlined that Ankara supported the mediation efforts by Germany and the EU, whereas Athens did not favor dialogue and had adopted a negative approach towards the de-escalation bid of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. 

Turkey, without any preconditions, is ready to engage in dialogue but will set its own terms if Greece comes up with demands, said the country’s top diplomat, adding the EU had maintained a neutral stance regarding maritime jurisdiction disputes experienced by Spain, Ukraine, Slovenia and Croatia. 

Cavusoglu concluded that Turkey did not seek any escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean and favored a peaceful approach and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself had instructed the military vessels protecting the Oruc Reis – a Turkish-flagged energy research vessel operating in the region – not to be the first side to open fire, adding they would stand firm to protect the ship should Greek ships attempt to harass the research vessel. 

Greece has disputed Turkey’s current energy exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. 

Turkey -- the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean -- has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the TRNC have rights in the region. 

Dialogue for fairly sharing these resources will be a win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials. 

Turkish, German defense chiefs discuss E.Med

Turkey's defense chief Hulusi Akar and his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer talked over the phone Wednesday about recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, an official statement said.

According to the statement by the Turkish National Defense Ministry, Akar and Kramp-Karrenbauer exchanged views on bilateral defense and security relations, as well as regional issues, particularly the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey does not favor a deadlock but rather resolution of problems through dialogue, said Akar during the phone talk, the statement added.

Akar also noted that other countries should approach the issue with "common sense and spirit of the alliance"

Turkey is righteous and resolute, will never allow any fait accompli, and will continue to defend its rights stemming from international law, he stressed.

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey -- the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean -- has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that

Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region. Dialogue for fairly sharing these resources will be a win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

 

Deteriorating Turkish-French ties 

Cavusoglu also shed light on how Turkey and France were not on the same page on Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean. 

He said Turkey considered France its ally, but the French policy toward Turkey had changed following Ankara’s military operation against the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. 

“France is supporting the PKK to divide Syria. This plan was ruined. That’s why France became very angry with us,” said Cavusoglu, adding there were times when both countries had the same policy on Syria. 

“I attended many meetings of the International Syrian Support Group,” he said.

“We even criticized the US for being too flexible. We were against Russian policy there.”

He condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement earlier in the day calling on the EU to be tough with Turkey. 

He also demanded an apology from France for issuing a complaint in NATO on trumped up charges of harassment. 

Those plotting against Turkey to be 'frustrated'

Those who are plotting against Ankara will be left frustrated, Turkey's defense minister said Friday referring to recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking at a military ceremony in the Aegean province of Izmir, Hulusi Akar said to defuse tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean some circles just need to stay quiet.

"They don't need to do anything, just keep quiet," he said, advising Greece not to let itself be used by others.

Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. French President Emmanuel Macron has interceded in support of Athens, despite lacking any Eastern Mediterranean coastline.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

In order to reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of resources.

Touching upon Macron's remarks, the Turkish defense minister said: "They are trying to disrupt our unity and integrity by going beyond limits."

On Thursday, ahead of a summit of southern EU member states, Macron reportedly said: “We must be tough with the Turkish government and not with the Turkish people, who deserve more than the Erdogan government.”

Turkey: France should obey international maritime rules

Turkish parliament speaker urged France on Friday to obey international maritime rules in the eastern Mediterranean.

"As a NATO ally, we are waiting for France to give up hypocrisy and to obey the international maritime rules," Mustafa Sentop told journalists at the parliament building.

"Nobody should reflect his teenager issues to the international issues," he added.

Sentop also urged France to "honestly behave against its NATO ally Turkey."

Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent out drill ships such as the Oruc Reis to explore for energy on its continental shelf, citing Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have energy rights in the region.

Dialogue for sharing these resources fairly would be win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

Migration and EU security 

Another issue Cavusoglu touched on was EU criticism of Turkish military operations in northwestern Syria, which played a critical role in eliminating forced migration to Europe. 

“I have to be very honest with you. We stopped the influx of 3 million refugees to Turkey and maybe toward the EU. How can you criticize us for being in Idlib?” he said. 

Stating that Turkey was building houses for war-weary people in northern Syria, he said Germany and France did not keep their promise of lending help to Ankara. 

“We are suffering a lot. It has been a big burden for us, but still you criticize Turkey,” he said. 

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN estimates. 

Turkey followed an open-door policy for Syrians fleeing the bloodshed in their homeland in an effort to protect millions of displaced people.

It currently stands as the world’s top refugee-hosting country, with its Syrian population amounting to 3.6 million.