Turkish ex-PM Slams Erdogan’s Handling of East Med Tensions

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On Tuesday, Turkey’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, criticized the Turkish government’s handling of the eastern Mediterranean crisis, saying that this was another failure of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party.

“The countries whose interests conflict in the region have united their ranks against Ankara. Turkey’s standing alone in defence of a “right cause” means the ruling party’s failure in diplomacy,” Davutoglu said.

On the other hand, Davutoglu welcomed the invitation of the jailed former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, following a call by the latter to push for unity among the country’s opposition parties.

The former Prime Minister said he was open for dialogue with Demirtaş.

Davutoğlu received on Tuesday the main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, from the CHP. The two sides agreed to mutual consultation in the days ahead.

In previous criticisms of the performance of Erdogan’s government, Davutoglu said his country risks entering into a military confrontation in the eastern Mediterranean because it gives priority to force over diplomacy.

Turkey, which is searching for gas and oil reserves in waters claimed by NATO member Greece, deployed last month an expedition ship supported by military frigates.

Turkish naval forces have conducted a search and rescue exercise off the coast of Libya on Friday.

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the leaders of six other EU states, including Turkey’s regional rival Greece, for a summit in Corsica.

Macron called for imposing sanctions on Turkey if Ankara continues to explore gas in the eastern Mediterranean.