Fears of renewed conflict in the Med

Image: Youtube.
Image: Youtube.

Turkey and Greece rekindle old fires as Ankara sends research vessel into the Aegean.

Publisert Sist oppdatert

The Ankara government has risked clashing with its neighbour, Greece, by sending the TCG Cesme into the Aegean Sea, reports Dryad Global. Turkey says the vessel is operating in international waters between the two countries, north of the area that brought the two countries into conflict last year.

However, there is anger in Athens and Turkey says four Greek F-16 jets harassed the vessel by dropping a flare. Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, said Turkey responded with “necessary retaliation in line with the rules. While we are carrying out scientific work, harassment is not correct. It doesn’t fit in our good neighbourly ties”.

The Greek Air Force was conducting an exercise in the same area at the time, but the Greek government has denied harassing the Turkish research vessel. Long-standing animosity between Greece and Turkey has been exacerbated recently because both countries are keen to explore energy resources in the region.

Turkey’s energy-exploration missions in the area are due to be discussed at an EU summit on March 25th-26th, after which Brussels will decide on possible sanctions to impose on Ankara.

Vitriolic rhetoric by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added fuel to the flames after he told Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to, “know your place”, and that he, Mitsotakis “will get to know the crazy Turks well”.

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