Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Thursday that Greece had “overreacted” to plans by Turkey to proceed with an oil-and-gas research mission south of Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“They reacted as if a military maneuver had taken place,” Kalin said during an online event organized by the Brussels-based European Policy Center.
Kalin said Turkey did not want military or political tension in the East Med.
However, he accused Greece of adopting “maximalist” claims in the region, adding that the Greek island of Kastellorizo, being 2 kilometers away from the Turkish mainland and 580 kilometers off the Greek coast, could not generate continental shelf rights.
US envoy: Kastellorizo has same continental shelf, EEZ rights as mainland
The US ambassador to Greece reiterated on Thursday the US view that islands have “exactly the same” continental shelf and exclusive economic zone rights as does any mainland territory.
"I have also made a point on many occasions and I will make it again today, that the United States adheres to the principal of international maritime law that islands, including Kastellorizo,” Geoffrey Pyatt told state-run news agency ANA.
Pyatt was speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Alexandroupolis port for the reception and promotion of forces of the 101st US Airborne Brigade in the framework of the NATO exercise "Atlantic Resolve".
The arrival of elements of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade onboard Endurance "marks the beginning of its Operation Atlantic Resolve rotation and is the first use of the Port of Alexandroupoli for transshipment of equipment by the US Army since the Olga was removed. But I can promise you, it will not be the last," the ambassador said at the event.
"Our presence here today sends a clear signal to all who are watching that the United States is committed to working with Greece to advance our shared security and economic interests."
He also later also responded to questions regarding a State Department comment on Turkey’s drilling plans near Kastellorizo, in which the sea area was described as “disputed waters.”
“I would like to make it clear that the term ‘disputed’ refers only to areas where more than one country asserts maritime claims," he told ANA.
“The United States generally does not take a position on other states' maritime boundary disputes but as a matter of longstanding policy we encourage states to resolve their disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law.”
Pratt reiterated a call on Turkish authorities to “halt operations that raise tensions in the region, such as plans to survey for natural resources in areas where Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean.”