Turkey Enrages US, Europe with ‘Threats and Intimidation’
The US State Department on Tuesday did not mince words regarding aggressive Turkish naval moves in the Eastern Mediterranean, accusing Ankara of using “coercion, threats [and] intimidation” as a means of creating a “calculated provocation” and stoking tensions with neighboring Greece. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the US “deplores” Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed survey activity, in which it plans to sail through internationally recognized Greek territorial waters in a search for gas deposits. Turkey’s last boating excursion, in early August, led to a tense naval standoff between Ankara and Athens, as well as large-scale joint military drills conducted near the Turkish vessel by Greece, France, the United Arab Emirates and other nations. Last month, Turkey and Greece agreed to hold discussions on the matter, although Ankara’s latest move seems to have thrown cold water on the possibility. On another diplomatic front, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu berated visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde during a joint Tuesday news conference. After Linde called on Turkey to withdraw from northeastern Syria, Cavusoglu lashed out at the Swede’s “condescending lecturing” and accused her of holding double standards. In response, Linde replied coldly that, being a guest, she would refrain from retaliating in kind.