NEWS

Tensions with Turkey escalate

As tensions mount in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Cyprus started drilling for oil and gas last week, government spokesman Ilias Mossialos on Thursday denied reports according to which Prime Minister George Papandreou told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Athens has no objection to Turkey drilling in the same area as long as it avoids provocative maneuvers.

Mossialos?s comments came as Turkish fighter jets violated Greek air space in the Aegean for the second day in a row after a ?truce? that lasted a year and a half.

Mossialos was responding to comments by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, who claimed Papandreou had told Erdogan during a recent telephone call that the Turks can conduct drilling activities too ?as long as there is no scaling up of tensions.?

Mossialos also rebuffed reports that a bilateral council of officials was set to convene in Turkey in November, noting that the meeting would take place ?when certain conditions have been satisfied.?