QA-12, 22 April 2016, Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tanju Bilgiç, in Response to a Question Regarding the Allegations that Turkey Obstructs NATO Mission in the Aegean Sea

It is well known that Turkey has undertaken a burden that none of the members of the international community has assumed in order to end the humanitarian tragedy caused by the refugee and migrant crisis in our region. The recent considerable decline in the illegal migration activities in the Aegean Sea occurred thanks to the start of the implementation of the Turkey-EU Agreement of 18 March 2016, on April 4 and the efforts of the Turkish Navy, Coast Guard and Gendarmerie. NATO Mission in the Aegean Sea, launched by Turkey's initiative, also contributed to this development. UN figures confirm this, as well. Therefore, the parties, instead of demonstrating a negative denunciatory approach towards each other, should act in such a way so as to enhance the cooperation and coordination between each other. This will undoubtedly ensure the success of the efforts carried out.

That being the case, the allegations that Turkey obstructs NATO Mission in the Aegean Sea are unfounded and unfair. As it is well known, the alleged violations in the Aegean airspace are caused by the problems related to the Aegean Sea. Turkey exerts sincere efforts and demonstrates its will for the comprehensive and lasting settlement of a number of interrelated problems in the Aegean. Our expectation is the finalization of the exploratory talks carried out towards this end as soon as possible and reaching a lasting solution.