Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration are engaged in "unilateral and provocative activities" that threaten regional peace and stability, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Turkey will resolutely continue to protect its own and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, the ministry said in a statement.
"The main cause of the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent years has been Greece's and the Greek Cypriot administration's maximalist maritime jurisdiction area claims and unilateral acts that ignore Turkey's and the TRNC's rights and interests," read the statement.
The ministry condemned Greece's recent attempts to violate the continental shelf and the Greek Cypriot administration's planned move to launch research activity on Oct. 3 with an Italian-owned and Maltese-flagged ship.
The Greek Cypriot administration also plans to commence a new drilling operation in the south of the island in November, the statement said, adding that these actions breach Turkish Cyprus' rights and violate Turkey's continental shelf.
"All necessary steps are being taken against these unilateral acts of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, both on the ground and at the table," the ministry asserted.
"Also, it is being brought to the attention of third countries that they should not be part of these unilateral acts."
The ministry pointed out that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the European Union to convene an "inclusive conference" in the Eastern Mediterranean last year.
Turkish Cyprus also made a detailed proposal to the Greek Cypriot side in July 2019 regarding hydrocarbon resources, it added.
"Despite the fact that all these proposals are on the table, Greece and the Greek Cypriots have been attempting to engage in unilateral and provocative activities in recent months by increasing the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean," read the statement.
"Attempts are made through diplomatic channels against Greece's illegal, provocative and aggressive attitude, and the necessary response is given in the field within the scope of reciprocity," Turkey's Defense Ministry also said Sunday.
Underlining that there has been an increase in the armament activities of Greece recently, the ministry said: "It is considered that Greece, which is reflected in open sources, is trying to create a balance against Turkey with its increasing armament activities. Necessary attempts are being made through diplomatic channels against Greece's unlawful, provocative and aggressive attitude. and the necessary response is given in the field within the scope of reciprocity."
"Our expectation from our neighbors is to act in accordance with the requirements of international law, reason, logic, equity, humanitarian and civil norms, and display a sincere attitude in favor of solving problems through peaceful methods based on good neighborly relations and through dialogue."
In another recent statement, Ankara said Friday that Greece's maximalist claims regarding maritime zones and air space are against international law after Athens and Paris struck a defense deal recently.
“It is vain for Greece to hope that it can make Turkey accept these claims, which are also questioned by the international community, through anti-Turkey military alliances, harming the NATO alliance,” the ministry said in a written statement, referring to the French-Greek deal in which both countries committed to mutual defense assistance.
“Greece’s arming, policies to isolate and alienate Turkey, in fact, are problematic policies that will harm the EU, to which it is itself a member, and threaten regional peace and stability.”
Earlier, Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos said the Greek-French defense deal also covers maritime jurisdiction.
France and Greece Tuesday signed a multibillion-euro deal for Athens to buy three French warships, an accord hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as a major boost for the EU's defense ambitions.
Macron said after meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Elysee Palace that Greece would buy the three frigates from France to cement a deeper "strategic partnership" between the two countries to defend their shared interests in the Mediterranean. Greece, however, had said it has no intention of entering an arms race with its neighbor and NATO ally Turkey.
Greece has often been embroiled in tensions with neighboring Turkey over a range of issues, from competing claims over hydrocarbon resources in the Aegean to the demilitarization of islands.
Its burgeoning arms program is designed to counter Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, against which France is among the few EU states to have offered public support in past months.
The announcement of boosting military ties with France comes after Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said recently that a couple of secondhand French Rafale jets will not change the power balance in the region.
“They have been engaging in an arms race. They buy jets, arms, equipment. It is not possible to change the power balance with a few secondhand jets,” Akar had said.
Turkey has frequently said that it expects neighboring Greece to adopt peaceful political solutions rather than aggressive ones.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims made by European Union members Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cyprus. Both sides cite a range of decades-old treaties and international agreements to support their conflicting territorial claims.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations. Instead of opting to solve problems with Ankara through dialogue, Athens has, on several occasions, refused to sit at the negotiation table and has opted to rally Brussels to take a tougher stance against Turkey.
Greece and Turkey are at odds over issues such as competing claims over jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, air space, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus and the status of islands in the Aegean.
In January they agreed to resume talks after a five-year hiatus following months of tensions. Since then, Ankara and Athens have held two rounds of talks, with the previous one in Athens in March.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.