Turkey calls for diplomacy from Greece and warns of 'painful experiences'

Tension between Nato allies increases and includes simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, September 4, 2020. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
Powered by automated translation

Turkey has warned Greece to talk or face the consequences as the two clash over disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, where rich gas and oil reserves are expected to be found.

“They’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Tension between the Nato allies has risen as the neighbours, with many long-simmering disputes, send naval and air forces.

“They are going to understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military power to tear up the immoral maps and documents imposed,” Mr Erdogan said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a hospital in Istanbul, he said Turkey was “ready for every eventuality and result”.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper reported that 40 tanks were being moved to north-west Turkey and carried photographs of armoured vehicles loaded on lorries.

Tension between Greece, an EU member, and Turkey escalated close to breaking point in recent weeks over access to Economic Exclusive Zones around Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Map shows competing maritime borders according to agreements made by Athens and Cairo, Tripoli and Ankara
Map shows competing maritime borders according to agreements made by Athens and Cairo, Tripoli and Ankara

Greece and the EU have said Turkey’s exploration operations in the area are illegal.

Turkey has said it should have access to waters on the islands because they lie on its continental shelf.

The clashes are also happening in waters near Cyprus, another EU member.

Nato arranged for Greek and Turkish military officers to begin talks to try to reduce the risk of armed conflict or accidents.

Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots have occurred over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, and two ships collided in August.

France, Italy and the UAE have all sent forces to join war games with either Greece or Cyprus in recent weeks.

Egypt has signed an energy exploration deal with Athens for the Mediterranean.

The EU has also threatened possible sanctions against Turkey over what it says are illegal actions.