Eastern Mediterranean: tension increases as Turkey tells 'spoiled and selfish' Greece to back down

The warning comes days after Turkey extended its exploration vessel's duty in the disputed area for a second time

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar speaks as he chairs a teleconference call meeting with Chief of General Staff General Yasar Guler, Deputy Ministers Yunus Emre Karaosmanoglu with Alpaslan Kavaklioglu at the Turkish National Defense Ministry Building in Ankara on October 05, 2020. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / POOL / AFP)

Turkish Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar issued a stark warning to other parties in the Eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday and said Ankara would "not allow" other nations to build bases in the region.

Greece should refrain from getting in over its head in the Eastern Mediterranean region, he said during a teleconference meeting with Turkish commanders-in-chief, suggesting that such pursuits would "lead to a dead end".

"Turkey expects Greece to back down from its spoiled and selfish stance, and respect whatever is required by international law, humanity and ethics," Mr Akar said.

Turkey announced last month that it would be extending the seismic survey work of the Oruc Reis ship in a disputed area of the Eastern Mediterranean until November 4, further fuelling tensions in region.

Mr Akar called for other parties seeking to mediate between Turkey and Greece to be objective and impartial.

He said Turkey would not tolerate any attempts to impose a fait accompli in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"We have done whatever is necessary to protect our rights and interests, and we will continue to do so," Mr Akar said.

"We expect Greece to comply with what international laws have detailed, including the disarmament of the islands, the airspace of the islands, and the territorial waters.

"All of these need to be reviewed."

Turkey and Greece have competing claims over gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean and have disagreed about who has rights to key areas, claiming they belong to their continental shelves.

EU leaders met in Brussels last month to discuss ways to avoid escalation over exploration missions and Germany has led a diplomatic push for broader dialogue.

Mr Akar's meeting also focused on other issues, including the military-defence co-operation pact in Libya, Turkish troops in Afghanistan, the Turkish military representative in Nato and the peace forces in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus.

He said his country wanted to consolidate the ceasefire and achieve peace in Libya.

"Turkey will not give up on whoever takes over the legitimate government in the face of the revolutionaries," Mr Akar said.

He said Libya was for Libyans and Turkey wanted to see "an independent, sovereign Libya enjoying the territorial integrity of its own within the framework of unity".

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