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Rogue Turkey muddies Mediterranean waters, Greece warns of a 'military accident'

Rogue Turkey muddies Mediterranean waters, Greece warns of a 'military accident'

As early as the first week of June, <strong><a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/erdogan-muddies-the-mediterranean-sea-waters-2719.html">India Narrative had highlighted</a></strong> Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan muddying the Mediterranean Sea waters with his provocative moves in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cypriot Economic Exclusion Zone.

Now, things are fast getting out of control.

Yesterday Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said escalating tensions between the two countries may lead to a "military accident" and that Turkey has to show some "sense" and return to the dialogue table immediately to solve the long-standing issues over oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean waters.

Greece has deployed warships to monitor Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis — accompanied by Turkish naval vessels — currently sailing in the eastern Mediterranean, south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Ankara is obviously quite miffed with a Greek-Egyptian gas exploration deal and is threatening to carry out seismic research and explorations within the Greek continental shelf.

"Greece is not a country to threaten others or to accept being blackmailed. Turkey's reaction to a legal agreement between Greece and Egypt on establishing an exclusive economic zone shows that Turkey cannot come to terms with the European principles of the 21st century and remains stuck in the logic of using force and threats," said Mitsotakis.

A few hours later, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, ordered two Rafale jets and Lafayette naval frigate to be stationed at Crete, Greece's largest island.

"I have decided to temporarily strengthen the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean in the coming days, in cooperation with European partners including Greece," Macron said in a tweet explaining his decision to provide military assistance to Greece.

Almost at the same time, Israel announced that it stands behind Greece in the escalating energy dispute with Turkey.

"Israel follows closely as tension arises in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its Exclusive Economic Zone," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said in a statement.

Greece is going all out to generate international support and expose Turkey's expansionist moves. Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem today.

<img class="wp-image-9244 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/greece-israel.jpg" alt="" width="1483" height="941" /> Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias with Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi, in Jerusalem on Thursday

"Despite our country's commitment to dialogue on the basis of the rules of International Law and the Law of the Sea, a commitment which we again reiterate, Turkey has decided to return to its well-known illegal activity. It has proven once again that its statements on its readiness to engage in dialogue were insincere and pretextual," said Dendias.

As you read this, Dendias, is getting ready to meet Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States of America, in Vienna tomorrow.

"Turkey eschews modern perceptions that govern states in the 21st century—that it lives and acts in the 19th century; that it pursues gunboat diplomacy; that it insists on playing a destabilizing role; that it is acting outside the framework of international law and that it aims at imposing faits accomplis. Let me, therefore, be absolutely clear: we shall not accept faits accomplis. Any such attempts on the part of Turkey will not be tolerated. We call upon Turkey to immediately withdraw from Greece's continental shelf," warned Dendias.

Even as German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped in to defuse the tension between the two Nato allies, Erdogan has sent its first seismic exploration vessel, the Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa, to the East Mediterranean.

"Of course we are not going to consent to an attempt to confine us within our shores through a-few-square-kilometer-sized islands while overlooking a massive 780,000-square-kilometer territory. We are saying, let us join forces as all the countries in the Mediterranean. Let us find a formula that protects everyone's rights. Certain countries that choose not to heed our country's call are ruining their own future," threatened Erdogan.

<a href="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/79fccfa8b140bc9e3411e19d2e508f04-scaled.jpg"><img class="alignnone wp-image-9246 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/79fccfa8b140bc9e3411e19d2e508f04-scaled.jpg" alt="" width="2560" height="1707" /></a>

As it has always been the case with Turkey, its Foreign Ministry instead launched another offensive at Athens saying that it has been systematically shutting down schools belonging to the Turkish minority in the north-east part of the country.

"Eight more schools belonging to the Turkish minority in Western Thrace were recently shuttered and now the number of schools belonging to the community has come down to 115 from 231 about 25 years ago," said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy.

The reply from Greek Foreign Ministry yesterday, however, takes the cake: "It is paradoxical, if not absurd, for Turkey to be pointing out to Greece the need to respect minority rights. History will always remain the most objective witness of the systematic elimination of all minorities from the territory of Turkey over the course of the twentieth century. Incidentally, in 1955, Istanbul was home to 54 Greek primary schools, as compared to just three today. Does Turkey's leadership know, by any chance, why?".