The possibilityof hydrocarbon surveys throughout the region covered in the Turkey-Libya maritime border memorandum, both east and south of Crete, was raised again on Thursday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a meeting with the leader of Libya’s internationally recognized government, Fayez al-Sarraj, in Ankara.
Erdogan said Turkey and Libya would conduct drilling operations in the territory and on the shores of the North African country.
The meeting between the two men came as Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) regained control of Tripoli yesterday from Libyan National Army forces under Khalifa Haftar, a push made with Turkish military support that Erdogan vowed to increase.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has sent letters to top European Union officials protesting over Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the publication in the Turkish government gazette of a map outlining areas of the Greek continental shelf where Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has applied for exploration permits.
The letters were sent to the European Council President Charles Michel and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“It becomes quite clear that a possible escalation on the part of Turkey will not lead to a Greek-Turkish crisis but to a crisis in the overall relations between the European Union and Turkey,” he said.
At the same time, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos sent out a stern warning to Ankara on Thursday, telling Star TV that Greece will do whatever it takes to defend its sovereignty, including military engagement if necessary.