Turkey’s Erdogan threatens ‘Greek tragedy’ as he plans military exercises in Mediterranean

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Large reserves of oil and gas were discovered in the region a decade ago which has an estimated worth of trillions of dollars. Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned of a heavy price for anyone attacking the nation’s drilling vessel, Oruç Reis.

It is exploring for oil and gas in waters claimed by both Turkey and Greece.

Turkish survey, drilling and navy ships are currently active in areas off the east and west shores of Cyprus.

The Greek navy has been deployed in the eastern Aegean as a result and to areas between Cyprus and Crete.

Cyprus and Greece believe Turkey’s activity encroaches on their rights and have agreed on joint action at the upcoming EU meetings to deal with Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean, foreign ministers of the two countries said after talks on Tuesday.

 

Turkey claims it is active within its own continental shelf, extending to the south past Cyprus and Crete to meet Libyan waters, or in areas licensed by the Turkish Cypriot state.

A foreign ministers meeting has been scheduled in Berlin next week to discuss the next course of action.

EU-Turkish relations will also be assessed at a summit next month.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has visited Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and spoken with the Cypriot Foreign Ministry.

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Mr Anastasiades described the visit as “a highly productive meeting, discussing the common line of Cyprus and Greece to address the Turkish challenges and de-escalate the tension in the region”.

Ömer Çelik, spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party, issued a strong-worded warning to Greece in a recent speech, suggesting they could face a “Greek tragedy”.

Mr Celik said: “Greece is playing the game wrong. It plays games that are beyond her size. We warn Greece.

“This game you are playing can be turned into a Greek tragedy.

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“We will not be responsible. We will not allow you to play Greek theatre through diplomacy.

“There can be no stability in the region without the credibility provided by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot Republic.”

Nicos Christodoulides, Cypriot foreign minister, said: “We consider that developments in the region will decide to a large extent the future of Turkish-European relations.

“If there is real willingness and will, dialogue can bring results… Cyprus is ready to discuss with remaining neighbouring countries the demarcation of marine boundaries on the basis of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.”

Mr Dendias added: “The climaxing of Turkish aggressiveness is turning against EU and it has to be answered by a climaxing of European reaction to deal with it.”


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