European Council casts spotlight on Turkey's provocations against Greece and Cyprus

  • European Council casts spotlight on Turkey's provocations against Greece and Cyprus

European Council casts spotlight on Turkey's provocations against Greece and Cyprus

Germany and Greece criticized Turkey on Tuesday of undermining efforts for dialogue between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Greece and Turkey after sending a survey ship back into a disputed region in the eastern Mediterranean.

Two weeks after their last summit where leaders discussed economic sanctions, the European Union has so far failed to persuade Ankara to stop exploring in waters disputed by Greece and Cyprus. He also said that Turkey "acted unilaterally" in reopening the Varosha coastal strip in Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed to give Greece the "answer it deserves" over their energy dispute.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades "will submit the latest Turkish provocations" to fellow European Union leaders, Petsas said, adding: "Sanctions are still on the table".

Both Turkey and Greece have this week accused each other of engaging in "provocations", including plans to hold military drills in the Aegean Sea later this month to coincide with the other country's national public holiday. It had been abandoned since the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied allegations of deliberately holding the plane of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in the air for some time, on its way to enter Turkish airspace.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the plane carrying Dendias - a backup after the first plane malfunctioned - "took off from Iraq without submitting the necessary flight plan".

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who returned from a visit to Nicosia and Athens yesterday, noted a "clear disappointment for the unilateral move" of Turkey by Greece and Cyprus but also noted that they were willing to dialogue, a foreign ministry spokesperson said at a press conference in Berlin.

"It is one more provocation in a series of provocations from the Turkish side", Petsas told reporters, adding, "but we will remain on the fact that various explanations were given by the Turkish side, and we hope this phenomenon, and this event, will never be repeated again in the future".

According to the Turkish ministry, the plane that took Dendias to Iraq broke down there, and the Greek government then allocated a second plane, which took off without the required flight plan.

"When the aircraft arrived in our airspace, the flight plan was urgently requested from the Iraqi authorities, and after receiving a response from them, the plane completed its flight safely", Aksoy added.