A spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Greece with the backing of Europe will try to force the return of Oruç Reis that is currently violating Greece’s continental shelf in the East Mediterranean in response to escalated tensions caused by Turkey.
“They will turn (the return of Oruç Reis) into an occasion to escalate tensions. They will try to escalate tensions. But, in our opinion, there is a map called the map of Seville, which has no legitimacy. And since Oruç Reis’ research is being carried out in our continental shelf, near us, there is no reason to react to it,” said Turkish Presidential Spokeperson İbrahim Kalın.
A group of university professors outlined the Exclusive Economic Zones of the East Mediterranean according to the United Nations Law of the Sea.
The map, which adheres to international law that Turkey rejects, significantly favors Greece’s claims to East Mediterranean sovereignty, but Athens has not officially adopted the Map of Seville as its claims over the continental shelf.
Asked if diplomacy is “stuck” at the moment, Kalın said no, saying “the way to diplomacy is open.”
Erdoğan’s spokesman said that Europe itself knows that Greece’s demands are maximalist and unjust, and that trying to push Turkey into the corner by creating political tension is futile, without explaining why both the EU and U.S. openly condemned Turkey’s aggressive actions against Greece.
“If you think that by creating political tension, you will push Turkey into the corner, your effort is in vain. If you think that you will threaten Turkey with sanctions or that you can blackmail Turkey, again the effort will be in vain. After all, the Turkish president has said it many times. ‘I challenge you,’ he said. Bring the sanctions you say, what will you do to us?” Kalın ranted on.
“You will impose sanctions on our energy companies, on our engineers. Here are the requirements. Who will be harmed here? From this strategic tension who will back down? What problem will it solve? Neither Europe nor Greece will benefit,” said the representative of the Turkish presidency, urging Greece to take a more constructive stance, adding that the “mistake” of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was to involve the EU in a so-called bilateral issue.
“Those who stand by Greece now on these issues, perhaps with threats, perhaps with challenges, may not support Greece tomorrow. That is, we as two neighboring countries, which share the Aegean, as two neighboring countries, with a common history, will continue to live together,” Kalın continued.
“One of the biggest mistakes of the Mitsotakis government so far, if you ask me, is that it tried to define its relations with Turkey with a tactic or strategy through pressure from the EU,” ignoring that Turkey kicked off these escalations 11 months ago by signing an unrecognized and illegal Memorandum of Understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya to steal Greece’s sovereign rights in the East Mediterranean.
“This would not work, all with some logic sees it or must see it. In other words, what blackmail and what pressure did Turkey bend today? How will Greece or the [Republic of Cyprus] bend Turkey through pressure? It’s impossible! If it solves these problems, of the eastern Mediterranean, of Cyprus, of energy exploration, of hydrocarbon resources, of equal distribution; we will sit down with Greece to discuss them,” he said as Turkish warships continue to violate Greece’s sovereign rights in the East Mediterranean.
Turkey is currently embroiled in war, whether militarily or in rhetoric, with Greece, Cyprus, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and France, making its claims that it does not want tensions an utter lie.