‘If Athens’ attempt to expand its territorial waters isn’t a cause of war, then what is?’: Turkish VP
The Turkish vice president Saturday called on the EU for equity amid ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Fuat Oktay said: “Turkey expects equity from the EU, no one should expect Ankara to take a step back based on this equity.”
Oktay further said: “If the Greek attempts to expand its territorial waters isn’t a cause of war, then what is?” stressing that the country “will protect its rights on every cubic meter in the Eastern Mediterranean waters no matter what.”
“What we are telling Europe is that, Turkey will certainly not bail out on its rights whether it’d be in the Eastern Mediterranean or in the Aegean seas,” Oktay noted.
Criticizing Europe over not supporting Turkey and the Turkish people in their rightful interests, he said the bloc tends to point fingers at Turkey at every chance it gets.
Oktay also commented on the Seville map by Greece and said: “We [Turkey] will not only crush those who have this map on their minds but also tear up this map.”
The so-called Seville map attempts to restrict Turkey’s Mediterranean sovereignty area to 41,000 square kilometers, restraining the country to the shoreline.
“It is insincere for the EU to call for dialogue on the one hand and make other plans on the other, regarding the activities we carry out in our own continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Oktay also said via his Twitter account on Saturday.
He added: “We [Turkey] are well aware of peace and diplomatic language, but we will not hesitate to do what is necessary when it comes to protecting the rights and interests of Turkey. France and Greece are among those who know this best.”
Greece disputed Turkey’s current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
Turkey — the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean — has sent out drilling ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Ankara and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.
Ankara has earlier said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the TRNC — which has issued Turkish state oil company Turkish Petroleum a license — and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.