Athens/Ankara: Even as the world’s attention is caught at the devastation, the earthquake caused in the Aegean Sea, Turkey, however, continues with its subversive activities. Turkey was to end exploration operations of its ship in the Mediterranean Sea, undertaken in the last month by November 4 but, has now extended the duration further. Refusing to retract its expansionist and aggressive policies, Turkey announced to continue research till November 14. A severe reaction emerged from Greece over the issue as its Foreign Ministry raised the alarm over Turkish activities sharply escalating tensions in the Mediterranean. The Greek Navy had issued a maritime alert only ten days ago due to Turkish operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
In August, Turkey had issued a NAVTEX alert and sent research ship Oruc Reis along with two auxiliary ships in the Mediterranean for exploration. Greece had reacted by warning Turkey to immediately put an end to the unlawful activities, threatening peace and stability in the Mediterranean. The US, EU as also NATO had expressed displeasure over the Turkish actions. Furthermore, supporting the Greek stand, the US and EU even began to pressurise Turkey. As a result, Turkey withdrew its ships from the Mediterranean and commenced negotiations with Greece. Last month, however, the Turkish Navy issued a NAXTEX alert, and Oruc Reis returned along with ships Ataman and Cengiz Han near Greek island of Kastellorizo. Although it said the vessel would remain operational till October 22, Turkey extended the duration three times, instigating Greece again.
The Turkish ships were only 14 km away from the Greek island’s coastline. Greek agencies had asserted that even though the ships were not close to its exclusive economic zone, they may attempt to intrude into its territory. Therefore, Greece had warned Turkey to pull back its ships immediately. Turkey responded with stern words, threatening Greece did not have the right to protest against its operations. In addition, Turkey demanded Greece begin negotiations without any preconditions.
Greece then deployed a total of 60 warships and vessels in the region to keep a watch on Turkish movements in the last month. Turkey’s repeated threats and Greece’s preparations for war, hint at clashes sparking off between them at any time. Since both nations are unwilling to forsake their aggression, the situation could even transform into a full-fledged war soon. Moreover, as both, Greece and Turkey are NATO member states, the war could give rise to further complications.