‘Disruptor’ Erdogan faces sanctions over new oil mission in eastern Med

Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned. (AFP)
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Updated 13 October 2020

‘Disruptor’ Erdogan faces sanctions over new oil mission in eastern Med

ANKARA: Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned as a “disruptor of peace and stability” on Monday after he redeployed a survey vessel to search for oil in Greek territorial waters.
The Turkish president now risks sanctions from the EU, which condemned his “negative behavior.”
The redeployment of the survey vessel Oruc Reis protected by armed Turkish naval ships has added fuel to a bitter dispute between Turkey and Greece over exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara had withdrawn the vessel from Greek waters last month to “allow for diplomacy” before an EU summit at which Turkey was threatened with sanctions if it continued operations in the region.
“Turkey has proved it lacks credibility. All those who believed Turkey meant all it said before the European summit of Oct. 1-2 now stand corrected,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Monday.
“So the only issue here is to activate more drastic solutions, for Turkey to feel more stick and less carrot this time.”
The French Foreign Ministry said Turkey must stick to commitments, refrain from provocative actions and show good faith.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry described the new voyage as a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region.”
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said: “Turkey is acting as the disruptor of peace and stability in the region. That is against international law.”
EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said the bloc would discuss Turkey’s behavior this week. The new deployment “will lead to new tensions instead of contributing to deescalation efforts we were calling for at the last European Council,” he said.
“We consider that Turkey needs to engage actively in finding solutions and not to engage in negative behavior.”
Seth J. Frantzman, executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis, said Turkey used the exploration vessel deployments to harass Greece and create crises. The aim was to feed its citizens nationalist propaganda and to distract from a rapidly declining currency and failures in other regions, he said.
“Ankara has been doing this since June, always to challenge Greece under the guise of research, but actually to conduct naval drills,” he told Arab News.
“Greece could respond by doing the same around northern Cyprus, forcing Ankara to focus its attention elsewhere. Appeasing Ankara’s strategy has not worked and leaves Athens at the mercy every month of a new Ankara-created crisis.”
Efe Caman, an expert from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, said: “Turkey continues with its expansionism in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara doesn’t care about international law and doesn’t respect Greek sovereignty.”


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.