Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu has once again blamed Greece over an incident in which the Turkish Navy pushed back a Greek Cypriot research vessel that “violated Turkey’s continental shelf.”
Çavuşoglu accused Greece of “descent to the field” and characterized the Greeks as having a “complex”, on the occasion of the bilateral meetings in Greece. The Turkish minister’s statement was broadcast on Turkish public television.
“We are not a country that responds to Greece every day, we are not a country with a complex,” Çavuşoglu stated. “Not a day goes by without (Greece’s) Foreign Minister and others attacking Turkey. Look at the bilateral meetings, we took part and they talked about Turkey, ‘Turkey is like that, Turkey is different.’
“So when the discussions did not work, we went down to the field and took such steps, which make (Greece) resort to (their) complexes. No one can resist this. It is not just Greece that does it, we also do what is necessary for the interests of Turkey, we do not use vapid words, we do deeds,” Çavuşoglu said.
Turkey launches new threats against Greece
Turkey launched its new threats against Greece following the incident with the research vessel Nautical Geo. The Greek Nautical Geo vessel, sailing under a Maltese flag, had issued a navigational telex (Navtex) on Sept. 29, but Turkey issued one rejecting it.
The Turkish Navy pushed Nautical Geo back, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. “The vessel attempted to violate Turkey’s continental shelf on Oct. 3, despite Ankara’s warning that activities in the area need to be conducted in coordination with Turkey,” the ministry statement says.”
“The Greek ship was questioned and warned off by a ship belonging to the Turkish navy,” the ministry said. Turkey also launched diplomatic initiatives with Malta and Italy, the country of the ship’s owner.
A second incident with the same ship took place on Monday, while the Nautical Geo was conducting research outside Cyprus. According to Greek Foreign Ministry sources, a Turkish frigate radioed the Greek ship to move away.
The research vessel’s French captain ignored the Turkish warning, saying that a legitimate Navtex issued by Cyprus allowed the Nautical Geo to conduct its research – which it duly continued.
Stern response by Greece’s FM Dendias
“Greece does not threaten anyone, nor is it intimidated by illegal actions,” was Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’s response to Turkey following the incident on Monday. He made his remarks as part of joint statements with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides after their meeting in Athens.
Referring to the 63rd round of exploratory talks with Turkey scheduled for October 6 in Ankara, Dendias said it is unacceptable that Turkey, through constant provocations and inflammatory statements, is trying to undermine the atmosphere of the talks with Greece before they even start.
Dendias condemned the “illegal actions against the Republic of Cyprus, starting with the invasion and the ongoing occupation of a large part of its territory.
“I would like to be clear in terms of Turkey’s recent announcements about conducting illegal drilling within Cyprus’ continental shelf. There are decisions of the European Council on this matter,” he added.
The Greek minister briefed his Cypriot counterpart on the Greece-France agreement and reiterated that this agreement is clearly of a defensive nature.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Christodoulides briefed Dendias on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue. “Turkey’s illegal and dangerous actions in the last days prove to the most skeptical that the positive statements we heard for a period from Turkey did not, unfortunately, became actions.”
Ankara criticizes the EU
Turkey claims that it blocked the Greek-Cypriot Nautical Geo’s work east of the island of Crete last week for the same reason.
Turkey has also criticized the EU’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean conflict, calling on the bloc to adopt a fair attitude regarding the dispute and give up favoring Greece, under the pretext of EU solidarity.
Meanwhile, Ankara launched new threats against Greece, stating that (Turkey) is not retreating, and in fact orders have been given to the Turkish Navy, Air Force and Army concerning its national sea and air space.
Turkey has directly threatened a hot incident, as clearly shown by the announcement of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, in which it tries to blame Greece and Cyprus in advance for the tension that it predicts will be created in the region.
Turkey demands the cancellation of legal activities in the Cyprus EEZ, concerning the research of Nautical Geo for the mapping of the route that the East Med pipeline will follow.
With the threat of a hot incident, Turkey is escalating the controversy over Greece’s Parmenion exercise, which took place from September 25th to October 1st.
The representative of the Turkish Ministry of Defense did not hesitate to characterize the Parmenion exercise as a provocation in the aftermath of the Greek-French defense agreement.