The conclusions at the upcoming European Council on December 10 and 11 must give Turkey a clear signal that its behavior has moved beyond acceptable limits and is unacceptable, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told the Bloomberg network on Friday, as the Turkish Oruc Reis research vessel made its closest passage yet through the Kastellorizo complex on Thursday night, coming within 7 nautical miles of the islet of Strongyli.
“Europe must show the limits of [Turkey’s] behavior,” said Dendias, warning that failure to take action could give Ankara the impression “it can continue its current behavior without any restriction.”
The main thrust of his arguments in a series of interviews on Friday was that sometimes the European Union has allowed Turkey to come to the wrong conclusions. This, he stressed, is not good for Turkey, the EU, nor for peace and stability in the Mediterranean and the wider region. He also referred to Ankara’s destabilizing role in the Arab world, noting that Turkey is trying to undermine the government of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Egypt, invaded Syria and Iraq and, in general, is always present wherever there is a problem.
He reiterated the readiness of the Greek government to enter a dialogue with Turkey, noting that if the two countries do not reach an agreement, the issue should be referred to the International Court of Justice. If the Turkish side wants to find solutions with Greece, he said, it will be very easy.
Meanwhile, tensions escalated again as the Oruc Reis sailed close to the Kastellorizo complex late Thursday, inside an area (6 to 12 nm) where Greece reserves the right to extend its jurisdiction, before continuing south, accompanied by auxiliary vessels and warships.