ΑΤΗΕΝS — With no word on what was said during a 63d round of low-level exploratory talks between Greek and Turkish officials in Ankara, the spokesman for Turkey's ruling AKP party said his country won't back down from territorial aspirations.
“The Blue Homeland is our red line, it is an integral part of our homeland” stated Omer Celik, adding that, “We will fight for the Blue Homeland, and we will pay any cost,” said Kathimerini.
That was in reference to a doctrine conceived by former Turkish naval officers Cihat Yaycı and Cem Gürdeniz in which Turkey claims huge swathes of the Black Sea, East Mediterranean and Aegean Sea, and drilling for energy off Cyprus.
He also called on Greece and Cyprus to abandon “their maximalist conduct in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Kathimerini. Turkey also claims waters around Greek island where it wants to look for oil and gas.
That stance has kept diplomatic approaches in limbo and a 62nd round of talks earlier this year amounted to non-consequential chit chat sessions that went nowhere, just like the others.
They are designed to lower tension but Turkey has used them to crank up the heat and alternates between claiming to want diplomacy while using belligerent language to make claims to Greek territorial seas.
Celik mentioned Turkish warships warning off the Maltese-flagged Nautical Geo energy research vessel near Crete, where it's licensed by Greece to operate, and he also repeated demands for Greece to remove troops from Aegean islands near Turkey's coast.
Taking some open shots while Turkish and Greek officials were chatting behind closed doors, he said that Greece's deal to buy warships from France won't protect the country, nor would a France-Greece mutual defense pact.
“What they need to understand is that the countries you mentioned will not be with you in your time of need, but Turkey, as your neighbor, has always been there for you in your time of need, and if you face trouble, Turkey will be the first to respond,” stated Celik.