Ahead of an EU summit scheduled for December 10-11, Turkey has issued a new navigation telex (NAVTEX) announcing that its research vessel Oruc Reis will continue to conduct seismic operations on the Greek continental shelf. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that he will not give up his “sovereign rights” on the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
Antalya’s announcement said that a target practice would take place on December 9 and 10 in the sea area between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo, while the next day it was announced that it would carry out “military exercises” on Monday in a zone southeast of the island of Crete.
In response to the announcement, EU Council President Charles Michel called on Ankara to stop the “cat and mouse game”, adding that Ankara “needs to stop bilateral provocations, aggressive statements and disrespect in order to facilitate dialogue between the EU and Turkey can move forward on international principles and rules. “
However, the tensions between the two countries did not end there. The article by Greek Prime Minister Nikos Dendias in the newspaper “Ta Nea” entitled “Turkey’s efforts to create a new Yalta” sparked an outcry in Ankara, in which the two NATO allies were already in on a number of issues Are quarrel.
In his article, Dendias accused Turkey of “conducting military operations in foreign territories, occupying parts of neighboring countries, threatening war, contesting the sovereignty and sovereign rights of European countries, transporting jihadists and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries by supports extremist movements that exploit the migration crisis and violate human rights at home. “
He added that Turkey had become not only a “difficult neighbor” but also “a clear threat to the stability of Europe, the wider Eastern Mediterranean and, more generally, the Arab world and the Caucasus”. In a statement, Ankara rejected all arguments by Athens, arguing that it was Greece that was continuing its “provocative and escalating military activities” in the region.
“Greece cannot solve its bilateral problems with Turkey by relying on others, but only by sitting at the table and through dialogue and cooperation with Turkey,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Hami Aksoy in a statement on June 6. December. The position was echoed by FM Cavusoglu, who supported Athens pursuing “maximalist” goals in the region.
“Greece as a spoiled child of Europe wants to provoke sanctions by the European Union against Turkey because of its maximalist and illegitimate claims to sea borders and airspace,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement.
Regarding the upcoming EU summit, where the sanctions scenario is on the table, Cavusoglu made it clear that Turkey will not give up its so-called “sovereign rights” in Kastellorizo or in the airspace of 10 nautical miles.
“No sanctions will ever cause Turkey to jeopardize its sovereignty in Kastellorizo or in 10 nautical miles of airspace,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Athens “sooner rather than later” has “an” unconditional dialogue “Should lead to Ankara.
The bloc’s foreign ministers met on Monday to discuss the possibility of sanctions against Turkey for its illegal oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, and it was widely agreed that Ankara had made no effort to expand its practices in the region to change.
Before the meeting, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had emphasized that Germany had “worked hard” to facilitate a dialogue between Ankara and the EU, but that “too many provocations and tensions” had taken place that hindered direct talks.
“For this reason we will talk about what conclusions we should draw – also with a view to the EU summit this week,” he added.