NEWS

Greece will not allow Turkey to drill for gas inside its EEZ, PM says

TAGS: Turkey, Cyprus, Defense

Greece has a plan for preventing any Turkish moves to explore for natural gas deposits within its exclusive economic zone, between the Greek island of Kastellorizo and Cyprus, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.

“Turkey won't do it. We won't allow [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan to drill in Greece's EEZ,” Tsipras said in an interview on Open TV on Tuesday night. “Greece has a prevention plan. Greece will not take a step back.”

The recent escalation of tension in the Aegean and East Mediterranean is “not surprising,” Tsipras said.

“These are moves that we had predicted a long time ago and this is why we are working intensively on a plan, so that the country is prepared to respond to any such moves, with the appropriate alliances,” he said.

“Everything we are seeing from Turkey, the violations of international law and the aggressive behavior, is not a show of force, but of weakness. It is the result of the absolute success of Greece and Cyprus' strategy and alliance in the region,” Tsipras said, adding that “Turkey has reached a strategic impasse” and “feels and is isolated in the region.”

Turkey's provocative behavior is geared at “securing a share” of any gas deposits in the area, but “Cyprus is not a small and defenseless state, but a state that belongs to the European Union,” Tsipras said, stressing the need for measures that “will make [Ankara] understand that it only stands to lose if it carries on in this manner.”

The Greek prime minister expressed satisfaction with the stance adopted by Washington and Brussels in response to recent developments in the region, saying that the “option of specific measures being taken against Turkey is being considered.”

He also said that the lines of communication with Ankara “are always open.”

“I will speak with Erdogan if this becomes necessary, but we're not there yet,” Tsipras said.

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