Any attack on Turkish drill ship will cost dearly: Erdoğan
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Any attack on a Turkish vessel engaged in energy exploration along Turkey’s continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean will pay dearly, warned Turkey’s president on Aug. 13.
“We said before that if you attack our Oruç Reis [drill ship] you will pay a high price, and today they got their first response,” said Erdoğan, speaking at an event marking the 19th anniversary of the ruling Justice and Development AKP. He did not elaborate further.
Erdoğan's remarks came amid growing tensions in the region after Greece sent its warships to the area in the wake of signing a controversial maritime deal with Egypt.
Earlier in the day, Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also discussed regional developments, according to a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate.
During the phone call, Erdoğan stressed that Turkey believes in solving problems in the Eastern Mediterranean within the framework of international law based on dialogue and equity.
Also speaking on the phone today with European Council President Charles Michel, Erdoğan discussed recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Communications Directorate announced separately.
The conversations came ahead of Friday’s extraordinary European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting to address recent Turkish-Greek tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier this week, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the region after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.
The agreement came only a day after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.
But, after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal "null and void," Turkey authorized the Oruç Reis research ship to continue its activities in an area within the country's continental shelf.
The ship will continue the two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the ships Cengiz Han and Ataman.
Erdoğan said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.
Turkish Navy continues to protect drill ship
The Turkish Navy will continue to protect the country’s Oruç Reis vessel during its seismic research in the Mediterranean, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Aug. 13.
In a Twitter post, the ministry said: "the Turkish Naval Forces, the protectors of our naval rights and maritime jurisdiction, continue to support and protect Oruç Reis seismic research vessel with the same accompanying ships since the beginning of the research," the ministry said.
The ministry also shared footage of naval forces’ ships accompanying Oruç Reis.
Deniz yetki alanlarımızdaki hak, alaka ve menfaatlerimizin yılmaz ve kararlı koruyucuları Türk Deniz Kuvvetleri, MTA ORUÇ REİS araştırma gemimize refakat ve koruma görevine ilk günkü kararlılıkla ve aynı gemilerle devam etmektedir.#MSB #TSK pic.twitter.com/Fab91yxuSW— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) August 13, 2020