Turkey has begun new military maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean, and has warned of a possible war if Greece expands its maritime borders, and this comes in light of raging tension between Ankara and Athens in the midst of the dispute over energy resources in the region.
The new Turkish maneuvers began on Thursday, with the participation of several warships, and they are scheduled to last two weeks.
The Turkish Navy indicated in a maritime notice published on Wednesday that it will conduct firing exercises from yesterday until November 11, in an area opposite the town of “Anamur” (southern Turkey), extending to the north of the island of Cyprus.
This development comes after the Turkish authorities extended until next Tuesday the mission of the seismic survey vessel “Aruj Reis” in the eastern Mediterranean, and originally this ship was scheduled to finish its work on Thursday.
Recently, Turkey and Greece held parallel exercises, in a sign of continuing tension between them over the sharing of gas resources in the region.
In the past few days, the atmosphere of escalation has returned to the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey on the one hand, and between Greece and Cyprus and their allies on the other hand, after several Turkish-Greek meetings sponsored by NATO failed to reach understandings that prevent a possible clash between the two parties that are sticking to Each of them stands with regard to the offshore range of exploration and exploration for gas.
Amid this tension, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay warned, on Thursday, that a war would break out if Greece expands its maritime borders to 12 miles.
Oktay said in statements to him, “Greece wants to expand its maritime borders to 12 miles, and this means that we will not move in the water, neither our merchant ships, our cruise boats, nor our fishermen’s boats. Do they expect us to accept that, if this is not a cause of war, what will it be?”
Oktay said Wednesday that his country will not give up an inch of its land or a drop of its territorial waters to anyone, not just Greece.
In an interview with CNN Turk, he said that his country has its own continental shelf in the Mediterranean that it is exploring, adding that it does not need permission or approval from anyone, and that it will continue exploration and research work in the Mediterranean as well as in Northern Cyprus.
In confirmation of his previous statements, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced yesterday in a speech he delivered inside the tomb of the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara on the occasion of the Great Victory Day, that his country will continue to defend its rights in the eastern Mediterranean in accordance with international laws and bilateral agreements, and will not yield to threats and blackmail.
For his part, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said yesterday during his visit with leaders of the armed forces to the state cemetery in Ankara on the occasion of the anniversary of the Great Victory Day, that the Turkish armed forces are determined and able to protect the rights and interests of the country and the national and international at all costs.
Akar said Wednesday that Turkey refuses to accept any illogical conditions set by other parties to solve the eastern Mediterranean crisis, calling on neighboring countries to dialogue and solve problems within legal frameworks.
Earlier, after Turkey announced the resumption of the mission of the ship Aruj Reis, Greece, the European Union and the United States called on Ankara to stop what it called provocations in the eastern Mediterranean.