Turkey warns Greece of consequences over actions in Aegean Sea
Turkey, warry of Greece's actions in the Aegean Sea, underlined that there would be problems between the two nations if Athens were to try and extend its territorial borders.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar warned Greece on Friday not to get dragged too far when it comes to its actions in the Aegean Sea, stressing that there would be consequences if Athena arms Aegean islands and extends goes beyond its territorial waters.
Greek media has been recently reporting that the country's maritime boundaries can increase by two-fold to over 19 km off Crete. In this regard, Ankara underlined that it would not allow Athens' territorial waters to expand by even a kilometer into the Aegean Sea.
"Everyone should know that a wrong step in this regard will lead to serious problems... Athens is taking provocative steps," Akar told Turkish NTV broadcaster.
This comes a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogly threatened Greece and warned it against expanding its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.
Cavusoglu went on recall how this was a casus belli - an act justifying war - for Turkey, adding that Ankara's 1995 decision on the issue was unambiguous and was still in force.
Ankara has on several occasions stressed that it would consider Greece expanding its territorial waters a reason for war.
Turkey believes such actions from Greece, which could see it doubling its 9.65 km territorial waters to 19.31 km, could cut off Turkish waters and deprive Ankara of accessing international waters, effectively trapping it in its territorial waters.
At several instances since 2020, Ankara and Athens have been head-to-head, and faced the risk of armed conflict over territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greek-Turkish divide in Cyprus, and the delimitation of maritime borders.
In violation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey repeatedly accused Greece of deploying weapons to the Aegean islands in the Eastern Mediterranean. In August this year, Greece used S-300 air defense systems to lock a Turkish F-16 performing a reconnaissance mission near Rhodes.
In October, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed Turkish claims to sovereignty over Greek islands in his visit to Athens. Scholz said, as quoted by Greek daily Ta Nea, that it was "not acceptable" for a NATO member to question the sovereignty of another member.
He also slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his senior officials for making "more or less veiled military threats" to Greece in recent months.
Greece and Turkey have been at odds for years over maritime borders and energy exploration rights in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean seas.
Turkey's president, meanwhile, recently accused Greece of "occupying" the Aegean islands, whose status was determined by treaties signed following World War I. Simultaneously, Athens accused Turkey of carrying out hundreds of illegal military sorties over the islands.
However, it was revealed earlier this month that Germany hosted a secret meeting in Belgium between top foreign policy advisors to the leaders of Greece and Turkey to discuss the normalization of ties between the two countries after years of tension.
On December 16, Greece's Anna-Maria Bura met with Turkey's Ibrahim Kali, in the presence of Jens Ploetner, the German Chancellor's foreign policy advisor.
The meeting was carried out in the German mission to the European Union without any preconditions from both sides, according to the report.