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Politics

Now Tsipras Finally Wants Greece to Get Tough on Turkey

ATHENS – After not confronting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when was in power for 4 ½ years, Greece's major opposition and former premier Alexis Tsipras said the New Democracy government should stand up to him.

With Erdogan going full speed ahead with plans to drill for energy in waters off Greek islands, undeterred by a waffling European Union, Tsipras said the only answer is for Greece to “defend its right” to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles from the current six miles.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – who pulled back a demand to the EU to sanction Turkey to give diplomacy a chance – is trying to figure out how to stop Erdogan, who's growing bolder .

“When there is such an intense contestation of your sovereign right, a de fact contestation with the possibility of (hydrocarbon) surveys within the 12 mile limit – that’s what the new Navtex says – there is only one way to defend that right, and that is to exercise it,” Tsipras told Real FM.

That referred to a so-called NAVTEX, a navigational telex issued by Turkey  reserving an area of exploration south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, the research vessel Oruc Reis to be accompanied by warships with no response from Greece's government.

“Now is the time to exercise that right, starting south and east of Crete and, depending on developments, moving south to our islands in the Eastern Mediterranean, meaning Kasos, Karpathos, Rhodes and the Kastellorizo complex,” the former leftist prime minister added.

He didn't explain why his government didn't extend the limit while ruling although it wanted to do but in the Ionian off the west coast and not in the Aegean or East Mediterranean or anywhere near Turkey. 

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