Greek Foreign Minister Dendias addressed an extraordinary meeting of the EU Security Council on Friday afternoon, during which he showed photographs of the collision which took place this week after Greek and Turkish naval vessels operated in the same are of the Mediterranean, around the Turkish oil and gas exploration vessel the Oruc Reis.
The naval vessels, both frigates, collided after the Turkish ship made what Dendias termed dangerous maneuvers. The chief of the EU Security Council, Josep Borrell, said he was “shocked” after Dendias’ presentation.
Borrell told the participants that he thought the recent events as documented by Dendias were unbelievable and stressed that they should not happen again.
Dendias is quoted as declaring to the assembled council of EU foreign ministers: “Turkey is the only one to blame for the escalation of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and must leave the Greek continental shelf immediately.”
He added that Greece’s position had been agreed with by every single person he had spoken with on the subject. He also added that he was satisfied by the universal condemnation of Turkey’s illicit actions and with the support Greece and the nation of Cyprus have received from their partners.
It is reported that a list of sanctions against Turkey is being drawn up at the present time; they will be discussed further at the scheduled August 28 meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Berlin.
Dendias stated that the goal of his country was to have a “ready tool in the hands of the EU if necessary, a tool that will push Turkey back on the path of legitimacy and international law.”
The Greek Foreign Minister also added that repeated calls for dialogue with Turkey “are being constantly refuted by the overt threats that always accompany them.”
Dendias said that he presented the Council with all the relevant details to paint a picture of what is actually happening right now in the Mediterranean, “so that our friends and partners can see what Greece is facing.”
“Greece is a peaceful country, it resolves any issues through dialogue and based on international law,” the Foreign Minister added, later pointing out that the recent agreements with Italy and Egypt prove this.
Dendias then added that Greece remains open to dialogue with Turkey, but not “under a state of pressure and blackmail.” Dialogue, he continued, “is conducted under the rules of international law and the law of the sea and on the only real difference between us.”
At the end of the press briefing, Dendias warmly thanked his Austrian counterpart, emphasizing that he found the members of the Council favorable to Greece’s views. He ended by noting that “our view was expressed in the clearest way by Austria during the Council of Ministers.”