In the latest sign of increasing regional tension, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced seismic surveys and drilling off the coast of Cyprus, while threatening the United States that it might purchase Russian fighter jets.
At the same time, Cavusoglu launched a personal attack against his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias.
In particular, Cavusoglu said in an interview on CNN Turk on Thursday that Ankara plans to carry out seismic surveys “immediately” in Cyprus as the “Greek Cypriots [the Republic of Cyprus] have announced that they will start drilling in November.”
He said Turkey will prevent the entry of any vessel in areas which have been “licensed” by the authorities in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
“We continue to carry out our operations in the area,” he said.
He also took a swipe at his Greek counterpart.
“[Dendias] calls two to three foreign ministers a day and complains about Turkey. The Greek foreign minister is still crying like a child… he cannot stop crying to at least five people a day… it’s an approach stemming from an inferiority complex and from fear,” Cavusoglu said.
At the same time, the Turkish foreign minister expressed hope that US President Joe Biden will meet withTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the climate summit in Glasgow, but took a hard line on the issue of the US supplying Turkey with F-16 fighter jets or refunding it for the F-35s agreement that Washington has now called off.
“If the US does not want to sell, does not want to solve these problems or Congress blocks them, then other options, including the [Russian-made] Su-35s, Su-57s, enter the game,” he said.