Erdogan Threatens Use of Force in Standoff with Greece
Tensions between Greece and Turkey over their maritime territorial dispute reached a new high on Saturday after Athens denied reports it had agreed to talks with Ankara to regulate naval activity in the Mediterranean. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the Greeks for ignoring his country’s rights in the region, threatening that “they’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy” or that of “painful experiences.” The Turkish leader also claimed that Ankara had “the political, economic and military power to tear up the immoral maps” imposed on it by unfair European pacts. Also on Saturday, reports surfaced of 40 tanks being transferred from Turkey’s southern border with Syria to its western border with Greece. In his Saturday address, Erdogan promised that the country was “ready for every eventuality and result.” Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean began over a month ago after a Turkish research vessel was deployed to an area north of Cyprus on a gas exploration mission. The move, seen by Athens as a violation of its sovereignty, prompted Greece to hold joint naval and air force drills in the survey ship’s vicinity with France, the United Arab Emirates and other allies.