Greece playing 'victim card' in Turkey relations - defence minister

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday accused Greece of “provocative, tension-increasing and aggressive’’ discourse and actions in its relations with Turkey, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Athens is simultaneously “playing the victim card” in its relations with Ankara, Akar said during a videoconference with members of Turkey’s top brass, according to Anadolu.

Turkey-Athens relations are plagued by a string of issues, including gas reserves and maritime rights in the Mediterranean and Aegean, and migrants, who both countries accuse one another of using as pawns.

Greece is “falsifying facts and misleading (other states),” while Athens itself violates international law, the country’s top defence official said, referring to Greece’s alleged pushback of migrants in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey has frequently accused Greece of engaging in violent and unlawful pushbacks against refugees at sea. The European Union has expressed its concerns about some of Greece's practices, prompting Athens last month to announce a probe into reports that its forces engaged in these practices.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay on Sunday slammed Greece following the release of a video by the Turkish Defence Ministry that showed Greek vessels attempting to push boats carrying migrants back into Turkish waters. 

Greece is attempting to portray itself as “the victim and Turkey as the aggressor,’’ Akar went to say. “However, history and ongoing developments clearly show that it is them who are adopting an expansionist and aggressive policy.’’

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