Greek, Turkish ministers clash at press conference
The talks between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias were ostensibly meant to show the two uneasy NATO neighbours trying to put aside their differences after a year of complex disputes.
The two countries teetered on the edge of all-out war when their gunboats collided while shadowing each other during a Turkish push into disputed eastern Mediterranean waters last August.
But Dendias used his opening remarks to rattle off a series of longstanding complaints about Turkey -- from its search from natural gas in contested waters to its treatment of the Greek Orthodox minority and the sides' ongoing dispute about migrants.
"If you heavily accuse my country and people before the press, I have to be in a position to respond to that," Cavusoglu replied.
"If you want to continue our tensions, we can," Cavusoglu said. "If we go into mutual recriminations here, we have a lot to tell each other."
No more lessons
None was announced.
Dendias did offer Cavusoglu an invitation to visit him in Athens and the two ministers walked away from their respective lecturns after exchanging a few pleasantries and smiles.
But the heated exchanges that preceded them underscored the difficulty both the European Union and NATO will have in calming the historic Greek-Turkish rivalry.
"Turkey should not teach Greece any lessons," Dendias said after accusing Turkey of not sticking by its 2016 agreement with Brussels to accept migrants seeking refuge in Europe.
"Greece is ready to move forward and (adopt) a new agenda. But this does not mean that Greece will change its position on foreign policy or that it will abandon its European obligations," Dendias said.
"You always try to teach us about democracy and law," Cavusoglu retorted during an argument about Turkey's treatment of its Greek Orthodox minority.
Dendias had said moments earlier that he relayed Greece's profound displeasure with Turkey's conversion last year of the Hagia Sophia cathedral from a museum into a mosque.