Turkish President Recep Taif Erdogan has warned that Greece will face consequences if it does not participate in talks over disputed claims of eastern Mediterranean territory.
“They will understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in fields with painful experiences,” he said at the opening ceremony of the hospital in Istanbul on Saturday.
The two NATO allies have been trapped for weeks in a tense deadlock in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is exploring the seabed for energy reserves in the region that Greece claims is its continental shelf.
Cyprus also accused Turkey of violating sovereignty by drilling the sea. All sides deployed naval and air forces to insist on competing claims in the region.
“They will understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military power to tear immoral maps and imposed documents,” Erdogan added, referring to regions marked by Greece and Cyprus as economic maritime regions.
He said Turkey “is prepared for all events and consequences.”
NATO said this week that Greek and Turkish leaders have agreed to participate in technology negotiations to avoid accidents between the navy.
But Greece later disagreed with the talks, and Turkey said it was accused of avoiding talks by EU countries.
Tank on the border?
Turkish news reports on Saturday said Ankara had relocated armored vehicles shared with Greece at the Syrian border.
The Cumhuriyet newspaper reported that 40 tanks were transported from the Syrian border to Edirne in northwest Turkey and carried pictures of armored vehicles on trucks.
Turkey deploys tanks from the Syrian border to the Greek border, claims Turkish civilian news agency İHA.
About 40 tanks. pic.twitter.com/nnDrEegXsj
-Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) September 5, 2020
A military official, subject to anonymity under government regulations, said the deployment was regular military movements and was not related to tensions with Greece.
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, who reported in Istanbul, said officials said, “This is within the scope of the planned activity, it is the responsibility of the 2nd Army, [which is] I am responsible for the Syria, Iraq and Iran regions. “
If the convoy is actually heading to the border with Greece, it is part of “a diplomatic military arm wrestling in a tense situation between the two countries,” Dekker said.
“We’ve been told from the Turkish President… that they will not hesitate in an all-out military confrontation in defending their legitimate rights.”
John Psaropoulos of Al Jazeera, reported in Athens, said he does not believe that the Greeks are concerned about the narrow land boundaries they share with Turkey. They have 1,300 tanks in their arsenal, most of which are “parked right at 130 km.” -Long stretching”.
Psaropoulos said, “Across the Turkish border, there is an overwhelming armor and the only part of the Greek-Turkish theater where the Greeks feel confident.”
“What they are less certain of is the Aegean Sea and now the vast seas of the eastern Mediterranean.”
He added that Greece cut its defense budget by about half after an eight-year recession and tightening measures by Eurozone partners, now reaching about 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).
Psaropoulos said, “The Greeks traditionally spent a lot of money on defense. They are now unable to keep up with Turkey, where Greece’s defense budget is almost tripled.”
On August 10, Turkey deployed the Oruc Reis research ship and a platoon of escorting warships between Cyprus and the Greek islands Kastellorizo and Crete. The stay of the ship in the waters of contention was extended 3 times.
Greece prepared a small-scale operation last week by Turkey between Cyprus and Crete and a maritime drill with several EU allies and the United Arab Emirates, not far away.
Ankara has all the right to explore the area and accused Athens of trying to take an unfair share of marine resources.
Simulated air battles between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots flourished in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
A Turkish frigate and a Greek frigate collided last month, causing minor damage to the Turkish frigate, but no injuries.
Erdogan said Turkey has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reach a fair agreement.
“Our words are true,” he said. “The problem is that the people in front of us ignore our rights and try to get a place above us.”
The crisis is the most serious in bilateral relations for decades. Neighbors have been on the verge of war three times since the mid-1970s, including marine resources from the Aegean Sea.
Earlier, Ankara announced joint military exercises with the Northern Army of Cyprus from Sunday to September 10th. Air, land and sea drills are held annually.