Erdogan Slams Macron's 'Show' in Lebanon
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday hit out at his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron for visiting Lebanon in the wake of its devastating blast in Beirut earlier this month, accusing him of "putting on a show."
"Macron's concern is to bring back a colonialist structure. We don't have desires like that," he said, without directly criticizing France's plans in the region.
Macron said on Wednesday France would strengthen its military presence in the Mediterranean region with the cooperation of European partners, including Greece.
Longstanding tension between Turkey and EU member state Greece escalated when Ankara resumed energy exploration in the region off the Greek island of Kastellorizo on Monday.
Turkey dispatched the research ship Oruc Reis accompanied by naval vessels, prompting Greece to send its own ships to the area to monitor Turkey's work.
Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party's provincial leaders that he wanted to resolve the emerging crisis "through dialogue and negotiations", accusing Athens of harbouring "ill-will."