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Politics

British MP Tells Turkey to Back Away From Greek Waters

A British lawmaker who heads the Parliamentary Group for Greece added his name to a letter from academics, diplomats and others wanting Turkey to get out of waters Greek islands and stop plans to hunt for energy there.

Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire, told the British newspaper Express that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is engaging in an “escalation of rhetoric and threat,” and must stop, the Turkish leader ignoring all entreaties.

Erdogan sent the energy research vessl the Oruc Reis and 10 warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, close to Turkey's coast, under a maritime deal with Libya claiming Greek waters and dividing the seas between them.

Greece countered by sending part of its naval fleet and making a similar deal with Egypt to set up Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ's) that led Erdogan to cancel planned talks with Greek officials in Ankara.

Costa warned of a cocktail of anger and nationalism "can easily lead to consequences which no party should seek or want,” referring to fears there could be an accidental conflict in the East Mediterranean or Aegean.

"Turkey and Greece are both thankfully NATO allies and we want to ensure that NATO allies work together in the best interests of the NATO alliance,” he said, without noting NATO wants no part of the problem and has stayed out.

"We have had a number of instances over the years where we have seen countries acting outside accepted international rules and what we are seeing with Turkey is potentially a breach,” he added.

"What we don't want is provocation by one side or another. If Turkey has a real issue with Greece in this matter, the best place to raise that issue is through dialogue, and not through provocative acts,” he also told the paper.

He added: "Sending an exploratory ship for exploring the existence of hydrocarbons surrounded by frigates is not very diplomatic and very much sends a visual message.”

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