Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday addressed a new threat to Greece due to escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, on the eve of his forces’ military maneuvers in the region.
The dispute between Turkey and Greece, both members of NATO, has been increasing increasingly over the eastern Mediterranean’s gas and oil wealth since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month to the region.
“They will realize that Turkey has the political, economic and military power to tear apart the unjust maps and documents that are imposed on it,” Erdogan said in a speech during the inauguration of a medical city in Istanbul, referring to the disputed areas between Turkey and Greece.
“Either they understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or they will have bitter experiences in the field,” he added.
He pointed out that “Turkey and its people are ready for any scenario and its consequences”.
Turkish military officials announced that they would start a five-day military exercise on Sunday in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which only Ankara recognizes.
And NATO announced this week that Turkish and Greek leaders had agreed to hold technical talks to avoid any incident between the two countries.
But Greece said later that it had not yet agreed to hold talks, prompting an accusation from Turkey that the European Union member state was abandoning the dialogue.
Cyprus and Greece says Ankara is violating their sovereignty by drilling for energy resources in their territorial waters.
Erdogan added, “We have always confirmed Turkey’s readiness for all forms of sharing, provided it is fair”.
On August 10, Turkey deployed the “Oruj Reis” exploration ship, accompanied by a fleet of warships in the waters between Cyprus and the Greek islands of Kastelorizo and Crete.
The ship’s stay in the disputed waters was extended three times.
Greece responded by holding naval exercises with several European Union allies and the United Arab Emirates, not far from the lesser-sized exercises that Turkey conducted between Cyprus and Crete last week.