Ankara blasts Macron’s ‘arrogant’ statement as he says ‘Turkey is no longer a partner in East Mediterranean’

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the French president’s critical comments on the standoff in the eastern Mediterranean are a sign “of his own weakness and despair.”

Macron “has again made an arrogant… statement,” the ministry in Ankara said after the French president urged European leaders earlier in the day to stand up to Turkey’s “unacceptable provocations.” He hosted an emergency summit in Corsica with seven leaders of EU countries that border the Mediterranean Sea at a time when Ankara seeks to expand its energy resources and influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

The meeting came amid fears of an open conflict with Turkey stemming from tensions over offshore oil and gas drilling. Ankara has already lashed out at France and the EU for siding with Greece and Cyprus in the dispute.

Ahead of the Med-7 Summit, Macron said that “Turkey is no longer a partner in the Mediterranean region.” He made it clear that the meeting was summoned to clarify “red lines” if a “fruitful dialogue” with Turkey was to restart.

The EU states should avoid an escalation, but that does not mean they should be passive in disputes with Ankara, Macron said. “We must be tough with the Turkish government and not with the Turkish people who deserve more than the Erdogan government,” the French leader was quoted as saying. “All unilateral actions of Turkey, such as the Turkish-Libyan memorandum, without respecting the rights of Greece, are unacceptable.”

Apart from the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, Turkey’s ruling party did not leave Macron’s comments unnoticed either, accusing him of extending his country’s “long history of colonialism.” Omer Celik, spokesman for the Justice and Development (AK) Party, described the French leader’s statement as an “old and immoral game” of colonialists. “They offered a false show of love to exploit the people, but targeted patriotic leaders,” he tweeted.

Ankara has repeatedly said that it is sending out its drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf in the Mediterranean, claiming that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region.

It was no accident that the Med-7 Summit took place in Corsica, as the island is a French stronghold in the Mediterranean. Macron on Thursday did not mention any specific actions he wants European member states to take against Turkey’s moves.

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