Greek military chief slams Turkish revisionism in East Med
Greece’s military chief has slammed Turkey’s revisionist policy in the eastern Mediterranean for challenging the country’s sovereign rights and for jeopardising peace and stability in the broader region.
“Ankara’s attempt to contest and seize Greek exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf by signing an illegal agreement with the Government of National Accord of Libya for the delimitation of purported common boundaries is an example of Turkey’s revisionist policy in the eastern Mediterranean,” the chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA), Konstantinos Floros, said at the opening of the 15th Common Security and Defence Policy High Level Course “Altinero Spinelli” held at the Hellenic Air Force Academy on Monday.
“This agreement contravenes international law, violates our sovereign rights and seriously jeopardises peace and stability in the region,” he said, adding that by virtue of this agreement, Turkey also unilaterally claimed that Greek islands, such as Crete, are deprived of their EEZ and continental self.
“It should be understood by all that sovereign rights over maritime zones can be legally exercised only through negotiated international agreements, between responsible governments, in full respect of the U.N. Law of the Sea,” Floros said.
“Anything else, like coercion, threats, intimidation, provocations and military manipulation cannot be accepted by Europe,” he said.
Greece’s military chief said that Ankara’s latest provocative acts, including repeated unauthorized navigational warnings for illegal seismic surveys by the Turkish research vessel Oruç Reis in areas within the Greek continental shelf “constitute a major escalation and a direct threat against peace and stability in the region”.
“The research vessel is escorted by Turkish Navy warships, indicating Ankara’s will to militarise the issue against all efforts undertaken by NATO for military deconfliction and reduction of risk and accidents,” he said.
Floros emphasised that the Hellenic Armed Forces are a significant pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean, while continuously safeguarding the sovereign rights and the interests of the European Union.
“This is a point to be made loud and clear. We are protecting, not only the Greek borders and interests, but also the European ones,” he said.
The seminar runs through Nov. 6.
(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced with permission.)