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Politics

German Paper Says Erdogan Wanted Greek Ship Sunk, Without Deaths

September 2, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after having sent an energy research vessel and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo, wanted a Greek ship sunk to prop himself up politically, the German newspaper Die Welt said.

The report headlined Erdogan's Calculated War claimed he somehow wanted that to happen without any loss of life on a Greek ship but the report said that Generals – not Admirals – refused.

It wasn't explained why he didn't order it done as he had already purged the military, along with civil society, the education system, judiciary and jailed dozens of journalists after a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

The story said, without citing sources, that, “If it depended on the Turkish President, his navy would have sunk a Greek ship in the Mediterranean a long time ago.”

When his military refused, someone else suggested shooting down a Greek fighter, hoping the pilot would eject safely but Turkish generals again refused, the report said, providing no names, details, or evidence.

But the story comes at a time of heightened tension over Turkish provocations in the East Mediterranean that led the European Union to warn sanctions could be imposed if Turkey doesn't pull back.

Speaking on Alpha TV on Tuesday, European Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas – from Greece's ruling New Democracy – said that European leaders were “looking for a way to give Turkey one final chance” ahead of the European Council on Sept. 24-25 where a list of further restrictive measures could be discussed then.

“No one can blackmail or intimidate the EU with threats and cries,” he said, although the bloc's leaders have been reluctant to engage Erdogan, fearful he will unleash through Greece more refugees and migrants who went to his country fleeing war, strife and economic hardships in their homelands.

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