Erdogan warns Greece over standoff in Mediterranean

WION Web Team
Ankara, Turkey Published: Sep 05, 2020, 09:16 PM(IST)

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

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Ankara is currently facing off against Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. All sides have deployed naval and air forces to assert their competing claims in the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday raised rhetoric on Greece standoff in Mediterranean, asking it to enter talks over disputed territorial claims or face the consequences.

"They're either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences," he said at a hospital's opening ceremony in Istanbul. 

Ankara is currently facing off against Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. All sides have deployed naval and air forces to assert their competing claims in the region.

Erdogan stressed that Turkey was "ready for every eventuality and result."

Meanwhile, Turkish media reported that tanks were being moved towards the Greek border. 

The Cumhuriyet newspaper said 40 tanks were being transported from the Syrian border to Edirne in northwest Turkey and carried photographs of armored vehicles loaded on trucks.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the deployment.

The president's comments come after NATO said military officers from Greece and Turkey had begun technical discussions to reduce the risk of armed conflict or accidents.

The two NATO allies have been locked for weeks in a tense standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf.

The EU, which numbers Greece and Cyprus as members, has also threatened possible sanctions against Ankara over its actions.

This week, the US announced it was easing a 33-year-old arms embargo against ethnically divided Cyprus.

The recent crisis is the most serious in Turkish-Greek relations in decades. The neighbours have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once over maritime resources in the Aegean.
 

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