Four F-16s from the UAE have landed on the Greek island of Crete to take part in drills with the Hellenic Air Force, The Jerusalem Post reported. The UAE's move comes amid rising tension between Turkey and Greece over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Murat Yetkin writes: Turkey had already proven that it would afford any conflict for its rights in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, and it was not bluffing. There is enough proof to show that Turkey is always ready to burn the bridges if the issue is about Cyprus or the eastern Mediterranean, regardless of the government in charge.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu has said that Turkey is ready for talks with Greece without preconditions about a growing row over eastern Mediterranean gas reserves. Çavuşoğlu also warned Greece against taking "missteps" in the region, saying Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary without hesitation.”
Erdoğan has accused Greece of "sowing chaos" in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and of acting "in a spoiled manner." "Greece has declared its own Navtex unlawfully and in a spoiled manner. With this approach, Greece has sown a chaos that it will not be able to escape from," Erdoğan said on Aug. 24.
Turkey said on Aug. 23 that its Oruç Reis exploration vessel will now carry out seismic surveys in a disputed part of the eastern Mediterranean until Aug. 27, in a move likely to stoke tensions in the region. Turkey has also been exploring for hydrocarbon resources in the Black Sea.
If there is one beneficiary of the Greece-Turkey crisis, it is France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Macron has a very clear stance on backing Greece, which stands in deep contrast to Germany and the European Union Commission, both of which are hesitant to do so.
With today’s and foreseeable prices, let alone potential deep sea drilling, even if you hit a gas reserve right down in your water-closet, you won’t be able to market it for the simple reason that there is no buyer. So, what’s the hustle is all about?
President Erdoğan has said that any attack on a Turkish vessel engaged in energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean will pay a "high price." "We said that if you attack our Oruç Reis you will pay a high price, and they got their first answer today," Erdoğan said on Aug. 13, without giving details. Erdoğan's comments came after the French military conducted training exercises with Greek forces off the southern island of Crete.
Following a call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki, French President Emanuel Macron announced he would deploy additional ships to the eastern Mediterranean and called on Turkey to halt oil and gas exploration in disputed waters.
Greek experts and politicians critical of the government have said that Athens has made a mistake with regards to the timing of the maritime deal that it struck with Egypt last week. They also accused Mitsotakis government of pursuing a “maximalist” and “very strict policy” in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.
Just as “détente” seemed to be in the cards for Turkey and Greece, things soured once more. And they soured big time.
A Greek court has released two Kurdish journalists detained in Athens. Both Kaplan and Mordeniz were detained despite having press cards, news portal Gazete Karınca reported on Aug. 9, adding that the journalists were taken to Acropolis police headquarters.
Turkey calls for cooperation to ease tensions in East Med after sending survey ship to disputed waters
Turkey announced on Aug. 10 that it dispatched a vessel named Oruç Reis to conduct a seismic survey in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean, a move that Greece said was "illegal." Turkey dismissed the Greek objections, with President Erdoğan saying that Ankara was ready to cooperate in finding "an acceptable formula that protects the rights of all."
Germany now seems as if it has more empathy toward Turkey as compared to the past. This is because Germans have recognized the futility of spending energy clashing with the leader of a country who has completely changed national policies into tactics that keep him in power.
Greece and Egypt signed an agreement on Aug. 6 that sets the sea boundary between the two countries and demarcates an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights. The agreement is a response to a similar deal between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya last year. Turkey said that it considers the agreement null and void, adding that the deal also violated Libya's maritime rights.