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Politics

Turkish Defense Minister Threatens Greece Over East Mediterranean

August 29, 2020

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has turned up the heat in his country's claims for waters near Greek islands, warning Greece to enter into dialogue or “face undesirable consequences,” if a conflict breaks out.

Speaking to Turkey's state-run Anadolu News Agency, which is a mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is the law there, he offered negotiations over competing claims to waters in the East Mediterranean and Aegean.

“Dialogue over the Eastern Mediterranean should be the first option,” Akar said, according to the report. “Otherwise, undesirable situations could follow,” he said, diplomatic code that Turkey won't hesitate to use military force to get what it wants.

It was the main story on the front page of the pro-government Daily Sabah, the story also reporting Akar said Turkey would be willing to host Greek officials in talks, although Erdogan canceled a planned round when Greece made a deal with Egypt setting seas boundaries for energy exploration.

That was a counter to a Turkey-Libya deal dividing the waters between them and Turkey claiming parts of Greece's Continental Shelf, planning to drill of Kastellorizo and other Greek islands near Turkey, as well as near Crete.

“Turkey's borders are clear in the Eastern Mediterranean. We told what would happen if you violated them,” he was quoted as saying, reportedly adding that Turkey’s power shouldn't be tested.

Erdogan sent an energy research vessel and 10 warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, Greece responding by sending parts of its navy to shadow its adversaries, ratcheting up worries a conflict could break out.

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