Erdoğan: Turkey ready to pay price for rights
Turkey is ready to pay the price to obtain its rights in its seas, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, in a warning against Greece over ongoing tension surrounding hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Turkey will get the rights it deserves in the Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea. As we have no eye on someone else’s soils, sovereignty, and interest, we will not concede on what is ours. We are determined to do whatever necessary politically, economically and militarily to this end,” Erdoğan said on Aug. 26 on the occasion of the 949th anniversary of the Malazgirt Battle that had resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine by the Seljuk Turks.
Erdoğan was in the eastern province of Muş on Aug. 25 and 26 for the inauguration of a presidential complex and the celebrations of the Malazgirt Victory of 1071. In his lengthy speech, Erdoğan summarized how Turks entered and conquered Anatolia where modern Turkey is now situated.
His remarks came just a day after EU term president Germany initiated to mediate between Turkey and Greece to defuse the tension and start a dialogue between the two NATO allies. The Turkish and Greek foreign ministers, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Nikos Dendias, who held separate meetings with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Aug. 25 signaled their readiness for dialogue but ruled out any precondition.
One part of Erdoğan’s address was devoted to the ongoing tension in the eastern Mediterranean as he indirectly urged Greece not to take “wrong steps” that would eventually lead to its devastation.
Describing Greece as ineligible to be the successor of the Byzantine, Erdoğan accused Athens of committing injustice and piracy in the Mediterranean by the support of the Europeans. He also urged Greece to avoid “fake bullying” in the Aegean.
“We want everyone to see that Turkey is no longer a country whose patience, determination, means and courage can be tested. If we say we will do something, we will do it, and we will pay the price,” Erdoğan said.
“Those who want to confront us at the expense of paying a price, be our guest. Otherwise, do not stand in front of us!”
Tensions between the two neighbors have escalated after both countries have increased military presence in parts of the eastern Mediterranean, which both claim as its sovereign maritime area. Greece has decided to launch a military drill in the same area where the Turkish research vessel Oruç Reis is due to conduct seismic work until Aug. 27.
Turkey, US conduct exercise in E Med
Meanwhile, Turkey said on Aug. 26 it had conducted exercises with a U.S. navy destroyer in the eastern Mediterranean, hours after Greece began war games with France and EU allies nearby.
"Turkish frigates TCG Barbaros and TCG Burgazada have conducted maritime trainings with American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill in the eastern Mediterranean on 26 August," the defense ministry announced in a tweet.