The USS Hershel Woody Williams has arrived in the Greek island of Crete, on a mission to keep an eye on escalating tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey over energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean. The 230-meter-long ship, about the size of some skyscrapers, was earlier in Naples, Italy, for a routine logistics stop before it was sent to Crete where it is on standby as Greece and Turkey remain locked in a standoff.
The prime minister’s National Security Adviser, Alexandros Diakopoulos, submitted his resignation on Aug. 19, after his comments on the activities of the Turkish seismic vessel Oruç Reis off Kastellorizo sparked controversy. "I therefore resign from the post of the prime minister's national security adviser. I will continue to help the country and the government in any way I can, as I have done so far,” he said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 13 that the only solution to Turkey's dispute with Greece over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean was through dialogue and negotiation, as the French armed forces ministry said it was sending two Rafale fighter jets and the naval frigate "Lafayette" to the region.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
A secret trilateral meeting held between Ankara, Athens and Berlin has stirred debate in Greece, with Greek opposition parties calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to clarify the issue. "Secret diplomacy shows that the Mitsotakis government is on the back foot," Syriza spokesman Alexis Haritsis told the party's radio station Sto Kokkino 105.5.
The Greek Coast Guard said March 11 that one of its patrol boats was rammed by a Turkish Coast Guard vessel close to the island of Kos, amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Athens’ Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in protest. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also summoned Greek Ambassador to Ankara Michael-Christos Diamessis, calling on Greece "to end violations of the Turkish waters."
Turkey said on March 10 a 2016 migration deal with the EU needs to be updated in light of the crisis in northern Syria. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that European Union visa liberalization and an update of the country's customs union with the bloc must be implemented to help solve the migrant issue.