Jordan, Greece and Cyprus discuss ‘common approach’ to countering Turkish interference

Amman has become a player in the Arab-European coalition shaping up against Ankara

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias speaks during a joint statement with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Amman, Jordan December 8, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
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Turkey’s aggressive behaviour in the Middle East and Mediterranean dominated discussions on Tuesday between Jordanian, Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers, who met in the latest Arab-European diplomatic move to counter Ankara.

Only Greece's Nikos Dendias criticised Turkey by name during the meeting in Amman as he represented the increasingly tough line by Athens.

Jordan maintained a more muted stance on Turkey’s moves in the Middle East.

A confluence of interests has developed between Arab countries opposed to Turkey and European nations that have turned against Ankara in the past five years, partly because of increased Turkish intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

Mr Dendias said Jordan, Greece and Cyprus shared a “common approach” to Libya and Syria, the East Mediterranean and the Cypriot dispute.

“We also agreed to visit Iraq to reflect the understandings between our countries,” he said.

Mr Dendias said anyone was welcome to join the co-operation between the three countries, which “share the same understandings to peace and stability and international law".

“We know that there is one country that defies these foundations,” he said, describing Turkey as “a country that makes problems and threatens to use force".

“We have repeatedly asked Ankara to engage in a constructive dialogue to achieve the interests of the region," Mr Dendias said.

Tension between Turkey and Greece increased over the summer after Ankara sent a ship to explore drilling prospects for energy in waters claimed by Athens.

Although the two countries are members of Nato, they have been exchanging angry talk, with Cyprus staunchly backing Athens.

Greece and Cyprus received a diplomatic boost from France, which has been leading EU moves to impose sanctions on Turkey.

Paris has also criticised the Turkish military for backing the Government of National Accord in the Libyan civil war.

Turkish expansionism prompted several countries opposed to Ankara to court Jordan.

Amman has refrained from public criticism of Turkey and kept open channels with Ankara, which recognises Jordan’s custodianship of holy places in Jerusalem.

Turkey is also a major player in Jordan’s consumer goods market and a relatively affordable tourism destination.

“As far as co-ordination on regional issues, we are not against anybody," said Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi.

“What we want is to build regional relations based in respecting the interests of everyone. Jordan will be always a force for moderation.”