Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says an attack on Oruc Reis in the eastern Mediterranean would incur a “high price” while at the same time calling for a win-win solution through dialogue.
During a speech in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s readiness to respond to Greece, saying “if you attack our Oruc Reis you will pay a high price."
The Turkish president’s comments came following a national address earlier this week by Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis, who told the Greek public that Athens did not threaten anyone but warned of a possible “accident” in the eastern Mediterranean.
“The risk of an accident lurks when so many naval forces gather in a limited area and responsibility in such a case will be borne by the one who causes these conditions,” Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.
In an English-subtitled video posted on Twitter, Erdogan described Greek maritime claims based on Kastellorizo as 'laughable and baseless under international law'
Erdogan, who had called for dialogue earlier on Thursday, said later in his speech “we are not chasing any unnecessary adventures or seeking tensions.”
In a video post on Twitter, Erdogan described Greek maritime claims based on the island of Kastellorizo as “laughable and baseless under international law.”
Greece and the Republic of Cyprus have accused Turkey of raising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, after Turkish seismic vessel Orus Reis began exploration activities for oil and gas in contested waters, including parts of zones claimed by Greece and Cyprus.
But Erdogan, in his English-subtitled video on Twitter, rejected the accusations, arguing instead that escalation in the Mediterranean was caused by “the Greek Cypriot and Greek mindset.”
“Since 2003, the Greek Cypriots have treated the island like their property and issued petroleum and natural gas exploration licenses within the island’s maritime jurisdiction, over which they have no rights,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish president went on to say that Greeks and Greek Cypriots were taking “unlawful steps” in seeking to usurp the rights of Turkish Cypriots over hydrocarbon resources in the area as well as trying to “imprison Turkey” in the Gulf of Antalya.
“One cannot use reason or common sense to explain the demand,” Erdogan said, citing Kastellorizo as a case in point.
Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have risen sharply this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, in a move Greece decried as illegal.
That an island, whose total area is 10 square kilometers, would be entitled to 40,000 square kilometers of maritime jurisdiction is both laughable and baseless under international law. pic.twitter.com/yFj5g2esl3— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) August 13, 2020