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Greece is ready to discuss EEZs with Turkey, if it's willing

Greece is ready to discuss with Turkey the possibility of a delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) for the two countries, if the other party is willing, Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis stated on Sunday.

“If Turkey wants to make a deal similar to that (Greece did) with Italy, we are here to discuss it,” Hatzidakis tweeted.

“If it doesn’t, the Mitsotakis government has made its positions clear, both on (the) Evros (land border) and with the EastMed (pipeline). In no way will we leave our country defenceless,” he added.

General Konstantinos Floros, the head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, on Friday said that Greece will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty.

The statement came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed that some of Greece’s islands do not have continental shelves that entitle them to an Exclusive Economic Zone. This contradicts international law like the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea, in which Turkey is one of only 15 countries in the whole world to not recognise.

“We say that not every island can have a continental shelf. In particular, the islands that are far from the mainland and closer to Turkey cannot have a continental shelf,” Çavuşoğlu said during an interview on Turkish television.

Speaking of Kastellorizo, Çavuşoğlu said that the island of only 500 residents and is located 2 kilometres away from the Turkish coast and 570 kilometres away from the Greek mainland cannot generate a 40,000 square kilometre maritime zone.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez announced earlier this month that a drilling vessel of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation will start oil exploration operations to the immediate south of the Greek island of Crete “within three to four months.”

Floros however has made a strong warning against Turkey, saying “The Armed Forces are an organised army, navy and air force. It is very difficult to confront them and whoever does it will face a very high cost, which is something our neighbours know about.”

“A military response is a possibility. No one can rule it out,” he said when asked what kind of response there could be from any Turkish provocations.

The most striking comment however is when he said “whoever attacks Greek territory, we will first burn them and then see who it was.”

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