A top advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Greek frigate harassed a Turkish seismic and drilling vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean before being driven off by the Turkish Navy as provocations in the waters continued.
Erdogan’s economic advisor Yigit Bulut told Star daily Greece tried to interfere after Erdogan had said that that Turkey will take all "necessary measures" to protect its interests in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean if needed.
“Greece-Greek Cyprus and Israel are after a new dirty game in the Mediterranean, thinking that they are backed by their big brothers,” Bulut said adding that confronting Turkey’s survey vessel exposed how “spoiled” those three countries are.
He said the Turkish ship was also being followed by Israeli drones. “Do you think that Greek frigate can risk coming close once it sees Turkish navy’s vessels?” Bulut asked. “One hopes Greece and Turkey to become ‘best friends, good neighbors’, but this does not happen .. Not because of us … but because of them,” Bulut said, warning that if the militaries of the two countries came to firing shots that it would be a military disaster for Greece.
Erdogan had sent Turkish warships past Greek islands as well as off the coast of Cyprus, where the legitimate government has licensed foreign companies, including from the US, to drill for oil and gas.
Turkey wants Turkish-Cypriots who've occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion to share in any revenues from potentially lucrative energy finds – to which Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has agreed – but also to take part in the licensing process, warning Turkey will drill itself or license other companies to do so.
Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez announced on Oct. 15 that Turkey would begin exploratory drilling for hydrocarbon reserves near the island of Cyprus at the end of October while the US conglomerate ExxonMobil said it would ignore Turkish threats and begin its drilling operations by the end of the year as licensed.