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Hatzidakis: we are ready to discuss EEZs with Turkey, if it’s willing

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Greece is ready to discuss with Turkey the possibility of a delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) for the two countries, if the other party is willing, Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said Sunday.

"If Turkey wants to make a deal similar to that (Greece did) with Italy, we are here to discuss it," Hatzidakis tweeted, in Greek. "If it doesn't, the Mitsotakis government has made its positions clear, both on (the) Evros (land border) and with the EastMed (pipeline). In no way will we leave our country defenseless," he added.

Greece and Turkey are going under a tense period,with Turkey asserting its rights to explore for energy sources wherever it wants in the Mediterranean and accusing Greece and Cyprus, mainly, of conniving with other parties to deprive it of its rights. The tension has been compounded by Turkey's effort to facilitate the exodus of at least some of the millions of migrants and refugees on its soil to Greece, a move that Greece has largely successfully resisted.

Tough language from Turkey was answered by Greek armed forces chief, General Konstantinos Floros, Friday, warning that a local incident would quickly escalate. Hatzidakis' Sunday intervention leaves open the possibility of a de-escalation, while stressing Greece's containment capacity.