Turkey threatens Greece with war for extending its territorial waters

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Tensions between the two nations have increased over recent weeks after Greece is planning to expand its maritime borders in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey’s foreign affairs minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed the actions of Athens could lead to war.

Athens is set to double its western territorial waters with Italy to 12 nautical miles, a move accepted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Ankara is not part of.

According to reports, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is looking for a similar move on the eastern side with Turkey.

However, Mr Çavuşoğlu disputed the move by Greece claiming any action would lead to war.

In a statement, he said: “In the Aegean, Greece cannot extend its borders to 12 miles.

“This is a cause of war (cases belli). We are not going to allow Greece to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 miles.

“I am being pretty clear.”

His comments come just days after EU member states agreed to issue sanctions against Ankara if they do not deescalate tensions in the region.

EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said: “We (the EU member states) are clear and determined in defending the European Union’s interests and solidarity with Greece and Cyprus.

“Turkey has to refrain from unilateral actions.

“This is a basic element to allow the dialogue to advance.”

He also went on to say “the most pressing and urgent thing is to solve the question of the drillings and the presence of Turkish boats in Greek and Cypriot waters”.

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Mr Borrell is referring to the Oruç Reis vessels which was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month to search for oil and gas.

Following Turkey’s exploration for oil and gas in the disputed waters,
Greece placed its military forces on high alert.

After the drillship was escorted by gunboats to begin its seismic research, Athens called for Turkey to stop the “illegal activities”.

This prompted the US, EU, France and Israel to condemn the actions by Turkey.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan claimed one of his oil ships had been attacked and vowed the opposition will pay a “high price” if they interfered with the exploration vessel.

Over the weekend, Mr Erdogan took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Mitsotakis, calling them both “greedy and incompetent”.

He said: “Do Greek and French people accept what can happen to them because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?

“I firmly believe that there is no obstacle in the steps of Turkey with the help of Allah.”

This is not the first swipe against the French President after Mr Erdogan claimed Greece was being pushed into taking “wrong steps” in the region by “a country that doesn’t even have a coast in the eastern Mediterranean”.

Earlier this month, Mr Macron tweeted: “The situation in the eastern Mediterranean is worrying.

“Turkey’s unilateral decisions on oil exploration are causing tensions.

“These must end in order to allow a peaceful dialogue between neighbouring countries and allies within NATO.

“I have decided to temporarily strengthen the French military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming days, in cooperation with
European partners including Greece.”

In July Mr Macron called for EU sanctions against Turkey claiming they violated Greek and Cypriot sovereignty over their territorial waters.

The situation in the Mediterranean has sparked fears of a World War 3 outbreak and Pope Francis appealed for “constructive dialogue” between the nations.

He tweeted: “I follow with concern the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean area and I appeal for constructive dialogue and respect for international law to resolve the conflicts that threaten the peace of the peoples of that region.”

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