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Greece Calls Turkey's Oil-and-Gas Plan a "Provocation"

Αssociated Press

FILE - Turkish police officers patrol the dock, backdropped by the drillship 'Yavuz' scheduled to be dispatched to the Mediterranean, at the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

ATHENS — Greece said Monday that it is determined to oppose plans by Turkey to expand oil-and-gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea, in a deepening regional dispute over mineral rights.

"Greece stands ready to deal with this provocation should Turkey decide to implement this decision," Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a statement.

Turkish authorities over the weekend published an outline of the exploration licensing procedure for state-run Turkish Petroleum in areas that Greece says would violate its sovereign rights.

The planned expansion follows a maritime boundary agreement signed last year between Turkey and Libya that is strongly opposed and considered illegal by Greece and regional allies Cyprus and Egypt.

NATO allies Greece and Turkey have longstanding disputes over airspace and maritime boundaries in the Aegean Sea as well as over mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.