Turkey hits back at ‘groundless’ claims made by Greece, Egypt, Cyprus

Turkey on Thursday slammed Greece, Egypt and Cyprus for accusing it of "unilateral provocations" in exploring for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean. 

There would be no solution to the region’s problems unless the countries involved changed their "maximalist and hostile policies", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

"We reject the statement which contains groundless accusations and allegations against our country," the ministry said. 

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, criticised Turkey during a trilateral summit in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, on Wednesday.

In a joint statement, the three leaders “strongly condemned Turkey’s illegal drilling and seismic operations in Cyprus’ EEZ/continental shelf, in marine areas already delimited in accordance with international law, including between the Republic of Cyprus and the Arab Republic of Egypt.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Turkey of "imperialist fantasies" at the meeting.

The three countries are holding regular talks as part of their closer cooperation in regional politics and energy exploration. The trilateral summit was the eighth held between their governments. Greece, Cyprus and Egypt are also members of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, along with Israel, founded this year for supplying natural gas to global markets including Europe.

On Wednesday, Turkey issued a navigational telex (Navtex) extending the mission of the Oruç Reis, a seismic survey ship at the centre of a months-long standoff with Greece, in disputed waters between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete until Oct. 27. An original advisory was due to expire on Friday.

Turkey had withdrawn the ship in late September when it agreed with Greece to hold exploratory talks to resolve the dispute.