In the Mediterranean, a gas dispute is raging between Turkey and Greece. Mutual provocations are increasing – now Turkey is even threatening Greece with war.
Photo series with 23 images
Turkey has openly threatened Greece with military conflict over the extension of its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea. “If that’s not a cause for war, what else?” Said Vice President Fuat Oktay of the Anadolu state news agency. “That would be a cause for war, the Casus Belli,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Athens criticized the Turkish threat. Turkey’s tactic of threatening war with its neighbors if they try to enforce their legal rights is “contrary to international political culture,” the Foreign Ministry said in Athens.
“Defend Whatever the Cost”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had declared in parliament on Wednesday that Greece is expanding its sovereign territory in the Ionian Sea, which lies opposite Italy, from 6 to 12 nautical miles. In sea areas where other countries are more than 24 nautical miles away, this may also potentially happen. Athens is ready to enter into a dialogue with Turkey by defining the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Oktay said Ankara would defend its rights at sea regardless of the cost. He also called on the EU to be “fair”. The European Union is not an international court that decides what is right and wrong. EU foreign ministers on Friday called on Ankara for the ultimate dialogue with Greece. Otherwise, the EU special summit on September 24 could discuss further punitive measures against Turkey.
Tensions have built up about raw materials
As early as 1995, the Turkish parliament declared an extension of Greek territorial waters in the Aegean Sea as a cause of war for Turkey. Because then, because of the many Greek islands, the Aegean Sea would practically become a Greek lake.
Tensions between the two member states of NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have risen sharply due to a dispute over undersea raw materials. Large reserves of natural gas are believed to be in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey is exploring the subsurface in sea areas claimed by Cyprus or Greece. The Greek and Turkish forces are conducting maneuvers in the region. France in particular took part in the Greek maneuvers and the US navy in Turkish exercises.
On Friday, Turkey said it had intercepted 6 Greek F-16 fighter jets east of Cyprus. Previously, she had extended the work of her seismic reconnaissance vessel “Oruc Reis” there by five days until September 1. On Saturday, Ankara announced new target practice in the Eastern Mediterranean off Turkey’s southern coast.