Source: Dubai – Arabia.net
In light of the escalation taking place in the eastern Mediterranean, between Turkey and a number of European countries led by Greece, due to the continuing Turkish exploration operations, Athens announced the holding of joint military exercises on Wednesday, while the US State Department considered that Turkey’s moves increase tension in the region.
Intervals Greek Ministry of Defense In a statement, military exercises are taking place between Greece, France, Cyprus and Italy from Wednesday to Friday in the south of the island of Crete in the eastern Mediterranean, where tension has recently escalated between Athens and Ankara.
It also stated that “the four countries have agreed to deploy a joint presence in the eastern Mediterranean within the framework of the Quartet Cooperation Initiative (SQAD),” explaining that these exercises will take place between 26 and 28 August in the south of the Greek island of Crete and Cyprus.
In addition, she pointed out that “the tension and instability in the eastern Mediterranean have increased the disputes over issues regarding the maritime domain (border demarcation, migrations, the influx of refugees …)”.
This came despite the German mediation yesterday between the two countries in NATO, which apparently did not succeed in de-escalating the escalation.
In turn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened, on Tuesday, to respond to any Greek move in the Mediterranean, while Germany considered that the military solution between the two countries was crazy.
In turn, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Phil Reeker confirmed on Wednesday that Turkey’s moves in the Mediterranean are increasing tension in the region.
He also considered that the Turkish steps in the Mediterranean threaten the unity of NATO.
Relations between the European Union and Ankara have deteriorated during the last period due to the oil and gas exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean.
Yesterday, Tuesday, Athens began military maneuvers in which its naval and air forces participated in the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of Crete and south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, near the area to which Turkey sent the research vessel Oroch Prime, accompanied by warships, to survey the Mediterranean Sea in search of gas and oil reserves.
This came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday that the Turkish Navy would not retreat from its positions in the eastern Mediterranean, accusing Greece of spreading chaos. “Those who dump Greece in front of the Turkish navy will not stand behind them,” he added, following a cabinet meeting.
It also considered that Athens has no right to broadcast navigational guidance known as NAFTEX in the areas claimed by Ankara. “Greece has announced its navigation instructions illegally and in a crude manner. With this position, Greece is creating chaos that it cannot escape from,” he said.
There are severe differences between Turkey and Greece, the two members of NATO, over the sovereignty of oil and gas resources in the region, based on conflicting views about the extension of the continental shelf of each of the two countries in the waters that are spread by mostly Greek islands.
In addition to the tension between the two countries, relations between Ankara and the European Union countries, especially France, are witnessing escalating tension, on the background of Turkish moves in the Mediterranean.