Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Greece got the “first response” from Turkey in the ongoing Mediterranean crisis, hinting at the recent incident between Turkish and Greek frigates.
“We said that if you attack Oruc Reis, the consequences would be great. And today, they received the first response”, Erdogan said, speaking in Ankara.
The Turkish-Greek tensions escalated this week after Turkey’s Oruc Reis research vessel began exploration drilling in Greek-claimed waters in the Mediterranean on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the Greek Armyvoice.gr news portal reported, citing sources, that Greek naval frigate Limnos and Turkish frigate Kemalreis (F-247) “touched” each other in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The incident happened in close proximity to Oruc Reis.
The area is heavily patrolled by both Turkish and Greek vessels.
Tensions between two NATO allies increased again earlier in August, after Greece and Egypt signed a maritime deal on an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara then slammed the agreement as “null and void,” saying that Athens and Cairo share no sea border, and claimed that the area of the EEZ was in fact located on Turkey’s continental shelf. The Greece-Egypt deal prompted Turkey to resume seismic research in the eastern Mediterranean.