Greece ready to discuss EEZ with Turkey, says energy minister

Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Sunday said Athens was ready to discuss with Ankara the possibility of a delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) for the two countries.

Tensions have soared between the Eastern Mediterranean countries since Turkey stepped up efforts to exploit the hydrocarbon reserves in the region. Moreover, in November, Ankara signed a maritime borders deal with Libya’s Government of National Accord, in a bid to prevent Greece’s larger islands from claiming a continental shelf and an EEZ.

"If Turkey wants to make a deal similar to (what Greece signed) with Italy, we are here to discuss it," Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted Hatzidakis as saying on Twitter. 

"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," Hatzidakis said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu said on Friday that islands that lie far from the Greek mainland, including the southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo, are not entitled to a continental shelf.

Greek military chief Konstantinos Floros responded to Çavuşoglu’s statement, saying that a crisis over Kastellorizo would not be limited to the island, but would develop into a Greek-Turkish front.