Turkey will take all necessary measures to prevent the expansion of Greek territorial waters in the Ionian Sea. This was stated by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
“Attempts by Greece to expand its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles will not be recognized by Ankara. This step may cause military conflict,” Oktay said.
On Wednesday, August 26, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the country plans to expand the Western border of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea and has already notified Italy and Albania.
For several years, Ankara has been periodically exploring for deposits on the section of the sea shelf that Greece and Cyprus consider part of their exclusive economic zones. At the end of 2019, Turkey signed an agreement with the Libyan authorities on the delimitation of maritime zones in the Mediterranean Sea to the detriment of Athens. This, in turn, was criticized by Greece, Egypt, and the European Union.
In mid-August of this year, the situation escalated when Turkey sent the Oruk Reis exploration vessel, accompanied by the military fleet, to a disputed area near Cyprus. Greece has put its armed forces on alert and sent warships to the disputed area.
On Thursday, August 27, the Greek Parliament ratified the agreement with Egypt on the delimitation of maritime zones in the Mediterranean Sea. This document gives Greece the right to a part of the sea shelf that Turkey considers it’s own. At the same time, Ankara intends to continue exploring gas fields in the disputed areas, as well as to launch military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.