NEWS

Ankara warns of 'another option' if all else fails

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Turkey, US, Security, Cyprus, Energy, Diplomacy

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Thursday that if his country’s dispute with Greece over the Aegean Sea is not resolved, there is “another option.” 

“Are we going to solve this problem with Greece via diplomacy or are we going to go to court? For us there is another option. If the national assembly and the state considers that option as well, then it will be a unilateral option,” he told Turkish lawmakers during a briefing of the House budget committee. 

The “option” he referred to was widely seen as the “casus belli” which Turkey has said it will activate if Greece extends its territorial waters in the Aegean from 6 to 12 nautical miles.

He also dismissed talk in Turkey that Ankara has forfeited islands to Greece after the crisis over the islet of Imia in 1996 that brought the two countries to the brink of war. “There have been no de facto or legal changes on any island,” he added.

Meanwhile US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said on Friday that Washington supports Nicosia’s right to develop its resources in its exclusive economic zone.

"The US has been very clear, Washington has spoken repeatedly and consistently in terms of our support for the right of Cyprus to exploit its continental shelf and its resources,” Pyatt said at the Thessaloniki Summit.

He also praised Greece’s role in keeping Turkey anchored to the West. “There is a high degree of convergence between Washington and Athens on questions around Turkey,” Pyatt said.

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