Duvar English – Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on Turkey “to not act as the neighborhood bully,” as he commented on Ankara’s energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

With Greece, Israel and Cyprus partnered up on energy projects in the eastern Mediterranean, Mitsotakis on June 16 also warned against exploration efforts by Turkey during a visit to Israel.

Mitsotakis said the Greek-Israeli-Cypriot energy explorations arrangement “is not directed against nor exclusive of anyone,” but accused Turkey of trying to exert political and military control over the region.

“Turkey is welcome to give up on its imperialistic pipeline dreams and cooperate with us as an equal and law-abiding partners – not as the neighborhood bully,” he said.

He cited “recent incidents of illegal and provocative Turkish behaviour at our sea, air and land border” and “the destabilizing effect that Turkey has made vis-a-vis its relationship with Libya.”

Turkey, which has declared part of the eastern Mediterranean a shared exploration area with Libya, says it is within its sovereign rights.

Mitsotakis visited Israel in a show of confidence in the countries’ anti-coronavirus measures which Athens hopes can be translated into a resumption of tourism.

Israel sees the visit as an opportunity to dilute European opposition to its planned annexation of occupied West Bank land which the Palestinians want for a state.