Greek FM warns Turkey over energy exploration tension
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has rebuked Ankara over increasing recent tensions between the two countries,
Speaking in a radio interview on Saturday Kotzias said that Turkey cannot violate international law with respect to Greece the way it does in the Middle East. He added, “Greece is an organized country, it has all the means to defend its borders and its territory.”
The comments come as Turkey tries to stop Greek Cyprus from drilling for natural gas in waters around the island. Last week Turkish warships "threatened to use force" to stop an attempt by the Italian energy major Eni to reach an area east of Cyrus and drill for gas.
Kotzias insisted that Turkey’s behavior will not block Nicosia’s energy plans. “I don’t think Turkey can do this.” he said, “Ankara knows that Cyprus’s energy plans are linked to France and the US,”
The European Union (EU) is concerned about the situation, which may affect a Turkey - EU summit planned for Varna next month. An EU statement on Friday, which backed the Greeks, was described by Kotzias as “the most powerful one yet”
The United States has also expressed support for the right of Cyprus to develop its resources within its offshore economic zone.
Turkey says the Greek Cypriot government must secure permission from the Turkish north of the island before carrying out gas exploration.