Türkiye on Monday pledged to continue protecting its rights and interests in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean as well as in Cyprus island.
"It is out of the question for us to stop protecting and maintaining our rights and interests in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, and Cyprus," National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said during a visit to the Piri Reis submarine, one of the six Reis-class submarines of Türkiye.
He told the submarine personnel that "important and extensive duties" await the Turkish navy in the upcoming era.
Akar underscored the need for dialogue to overcome tensions by peaceful means.
Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region recently, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty obligations. Ankara says that such moves frustrate its good-faith efforts for peace.
Akar said Athens tries to create a negative image of Türkiye by using terms like "neo-Ottomanism, revisionism and expansionism." Türkiye, he said, urges consultation meetings with Greece and negotiations towards confidence-building measures.
"They are not coming. However, they are making all kinds of slander against us with false and unfounded claims," he added.
Urging Greece to take note of history, Akar said: "We will not allow any fait accompli or any violation of our rights by being provoked by Greece."
Responding to reports that Athens plans to extend territorial waters around the island of Crete to 12 nautical miles, Akar drew a red line against any expansion of Greek territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.
A Turkish parliamentary 1995 decision warns that if Greece increases its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea beyond 6 miles, the parliament will give "all powers," including military powers, to the government to defend Türkiye's interests.
Akar said Türkiye is not a threat to any one and has not threatened Greece, rather it is "a strong, reliable and effective ally."
On the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Akar said Ankara continues its efforts for the TRNC to be recognized officially in the international arena.
"We are telling Greece to not make miscalculations and do not choose wrong paths, but learn from history," he said.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation of the island led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.