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Politics

Greece Warns Turkey Against Incursions in Aegean, East Mediterranean

August 24, 2020

ATHENS – With a standoff in the seas between Greek and Turkish warships near the island of Kastellorizo, the New Democracy government warned again it will not tolerate any violations of the Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where Turkey said it will hunt for oil and gas.

Germany, which convinced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull back his warships and an energy ship earlier has tried to be a diplomatic broker again after he sent them back in when Greece signed a maritime deal with Egypt.

That was in response to Turkey's agreement with Libya dividing the seas between them that saw Erdogan claims waters around Greek islands and said he would authorize drilling off Crete.

The prospect of moving into waters off Greece's biggest island has seen Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis get his back up even more, with Greece Naval forces engaging in exercises there with France and the United States – which has a navy base on Souda Bay there – sending a warship.

Greece also issued a navigational warning (NAVTEX) to ships that its air and naval forces would conduct joint exercises in an area that overlaps with that also reserved by Turkey under its own NAVTEX.

Greece also is negotiating with France to buy 12  Rafale fighter aircraft while Spain and the United Kingdom are interested in supplying frigates to Greece, Kathimerini understands.

Greece and Turkey are members of NATO which wants no part of their dealings and the defense alliance's refusal to intervene has seen tensions rise in the Aegean and East Mediterranean where Turkey is also drilling off Cyprus.

Greece is waiting to see if Turkish armed forces will start taking up advanced positions in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, the paper said, with German  Foreign  Minister Heiko Maas to visit both countries as a mediator.

Greece's government said, however, there will be no talks under pressure or blackmail after Erdogan canceled planned discussions in Ankara when Greece made its deal with Egypt in response.

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