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And the observer, who posts regular assessments of the situation via the Greek Analyst Twitter account, suggested Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would “take things to the extreme” with the US distracted in the final stages of the Presidential campaign. Neighbours Greece and Turkey have a long history of disputes, and the situation deteriorated still further earlier this year after Ankara sent send research vessel the Oruc Reis, accompanied by several naval vessels, to undertake a seismic survey close to the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
Greece responded by staging a series of joint military drills in the eastern Mediterranean alongside French ships.
The Greek Analyst feared the situation has the potential to escalate dangerously, especially given the bloc’s perceived failure to act decisively.
They said: “The unwillingness of the EU to act decisively against Turkey’s encroachment is a recipe for disaster, leading gradually (but surely) to a military incident in the EastMed or Aegean.
With the US in election flux and EU AWOL, Erdogan will not hesitate to take things to the extreme
The Greek Analyst
“With the US in election flux and EU AWOL, Erdogan will not hesitate to take things to the extreme.
A statement issued by Stelios Petsas, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman, said there could be no exploratory talks aimed at resolving the situation “as long as Oruc Reis remains on the Greek continental shelf”.
Mr Petsas added: “Turkey cannot prejudge the discussion with a research vessel in the area that we are supposed to delimit.
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“Greece insists on diplomacy with calm confidence, continuing efforts to strengthen its strategic alliances.
“It is noteworthy that our positions are being adopted not only by the EU but also by the US that abandoned the equidistant attitude, blaming Turkey for unilaterally increasing tensions in the region, calling on Turkey to end this pre-meditated provocation and to immediately start exploratory talks with Greece.
“At the same time, at the operational level, Greece is doing – as it did during the previous exit of Oruc Reis – whatever it takes.
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“The Armed Forces are operating in the context of their mission to defend the national interests. They have proved many times this year that they are capable of carrying out their work.”
In response, a statement issued by Hami Aksoy, Spokesperson Of the Turkish Government’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, insisted it adhered to the conclusions of the Special European Council Meeting October 1-2, and was in favour of “de-escalation and dialogue”.
He added: “It is not surprising that the EU, ignoring once more Turkey’s theses with its usual judgmental and prejudiced posture, identifies Turkey’s determination to defend both its rights and those of the Turkish Cypriots as “provocation” in today’s meeting.
“The EU’s continuation of the discourse of sanctions, instead of encouraging dialogue, reconciliation and an unconditional positive agenda, reveals also that the extent of its aim and the language it uses are distant from sincerity and constructiveness.
“The EU should focus on solving problems by respecting the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the region with an agenda of common interest and common future.
“Hence, it should cease to surrender unconditionally to the irrational and spoiled demands of Greece and the Greek Cypriot side.”
Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire, chairman of Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Greece, was one of those who added his name to a letter to The Times in August voicing concern at what it described as Mr Erdogan’s “escalation of rhetoric and threat”.
Mr Costa told Express.co.uk: “Turkey and Greece are both thankfully NATO allies and we want to ensure that NATO allies work together in the best interests of the NATO alliance.
And at a time when there has been, across the world, a rise in nationalism from different quarters, we want to ensure that NATO allies always remember the importance of minimising any potential disputes among NATO member states.
“What we don’t want is provocation by one side or another.
“If Turkey has a real issue with Greece in this matter, the best place to raise that issue is through dialogue, and not through provocative acts.”
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