Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday that Turkey’s activities in the region are an indication of its weakness and isolation.
Speaking on OPEN TV, Tsipras argued that the recent moves by Greece and Cyprus, and the alliances that have been built in recent years with neighboring countries, had led to a strategic impasse for Ankara.
“Turkey has no strong alliances. She sees she cannot claim her differences with Cyprus are a bilateral issue, as with Greece,” Tsipras was quoted as saying.
“The EEZ of Cyprus is also Europe’s EEZ, the borders of Greece are also the borders of Europe,” the Greek Prime Minister said, adding that Athens and Nicosia are working in constant co-operation.
Regarding the possibility of a “hot episode” with Turkey, Tsipras stressed that such things are always possible and that was why the Greek government was taking the necessary measures.
He underlined that Greece had strong armed forces and noted that Greek citizens can sleep peacefully. “But this is not enough, they need the strong alliances that Greece has developed. This is demonstrated by the reaction of the US and the EU and the possibility of taking concrete measures against Turkey is open,“ he added.
At the same time, Tsipras expressed the conviction that Turkey would not place a second drilling rig in the area between Kastellorizo and Cyprus, but there was a deterrence plan in any event. “Greece will not back down,” he added.
Cyprus and Greece put great pressure on the EU on Tuesday to take action against Turkey over gas drilling west of the island, as Ankara had stated Tuesday that it would step up exploration in a move that could further strain ties with Western allies.
Ankara, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus says that defining its EEZ is its sovereign right.
A Turkish drilling ship, the Fatih, has been anchored west of Cyprus since early May and it recently began drilling.
Turkey’s energy minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying on Tuesday that a second ship, the Yavuz, would be dispatched to the area on Thursday.
Related: EU Warns Turkey Over Drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone