Turkey hits out at France over sea stand-off

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  

Turkey accused France on Friday of acting like a bully and stepped up its own charm offensive as EU Foreign Ministers met to address an emerging crisis in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean.

The search for oil and gas in disputed waters not far from Cyprus has pitted Turkey against its uneasy NATO ally Greece and the entire EU bloc.

Turkey’s decision to send a seismic vessel accompanied by a small Navy fleet into the increasingly volatile region on Monday prompted Greece to dispatch in its own military assets to observe what was going on.

France on Thursday also announced it was “temporarily reinforcing” its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean in support of Greece. That decision only further worsened France’s tensions with Turkey — already high because of opposing approaches to the Libya conflict and other parts of the region — and saw the diplomatic rhetoric rise another notch.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday underscored the fraught nature of the stand-off by warning of a “heavy price” to pay for those who threaten Turkey’s Oruc Reis research ship.

The Greek Defence Ministry denied being involved in any incident with the ship.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 12:02:28 PM |

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