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Politics

Turkey Claims More Waters Around Greek Islands for Energy Hunt

ATHENS – After holding off the United States, European Union and NATO, Turkey is moving ahead with plans to renew looking for oil and gas around Greek islands, reserving areas there with a Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) warning off other ships.

Turkey reserved two sea areas between the islands of Skyros, Agios Efstratios and Lesvos for hydrographic surveys by its research vessel Cesme, said Kathimerini, the NAVTEX issued by the Izmir Station of Turkey’s Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography, will remain in place until June 1.

Only Greece is allowed to put out the telexes there but as it was a hydrographic survey and didn’t concern the Continental Shelf it was seen by the New Democracy government as another taunt trying to draw a response, the  paper said.

In a statement as he tries to avoid talking to reporters who ask questions, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias called on Greece’s allies not to give in to what he said was Turkey’s blackmail.

“We are not carried away by extreme rhetoric from across the Aegean. We choose the way and the time that we will answer. It is obvious that Turkish aggression is not limited to our country,” Dendias said, referring to the impending invasion of Syria and  Turkey’opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

That was also seen, it was reported earlier, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who has had energy research vessels and warships off Cyprus looking for oil and gas in defiance of soft EU sanctions – as trying to pressure the US into selling F-16s.

Erdogan also wants the US to upgrade Turkey’s air fleet during a time when he has repeatedly sent fighter jets into Greek airspace that Turkey claims, and he’s hoping the US will reverse itself and also sell F-35’s to Turkey.

Turkey was barred from buying those after acquiring Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems undermining NATO – which has refused to intervene over Turkish provocations against Greece – and could be used against Greece in a conflict.

 

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