Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece on Friday that Turkey will retaliate against any attack on its seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis in the eastern Mediterranean, amid an escalating dispute between the NATO allies over energy exploration in the region.
Turkey and Greece are vehemently at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region, and tensions rose after Ankara launched exploration operations in a disputed area of the Mediterranean on Monday.
On Thursday, Erdogan warned of a “high price” if Oruc Reis was attacked and suggested Turkey had already acted on that warning.
Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdogan said one of the warships accompanying Oruc Reis, the Kemal Reis, had “given the necessary response” to an attack by Greek ships on Thursday.
“If this continues, they will receive their answer in kind,” he said.
The ship will continue the two-week mission until August 23 along with the ships Cengiz Han and Ataman.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores claiming that this violates the interests of Turkey.
(Source: Reuters London)