Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Friday that if Greek forces continue to “attack” the Oruc Reis, his country will retaliate.
His words were echoed by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said that Greece should not provoke the vessel “like it did before”, also warning that there would be a response. Cavusoglu also noted that Switzerland has offered to mediate in the conflict and that Ankara has agreed in principle.
Oruc Reis started exploration drilling in Greek-claimed waters in the Mediterranean on Monday, which led to a massive backlash from Athens. Later in the week, reports suggested that the Greek naval frigate Limnos and the Turkish frigate Kemalreis (F-247) faced off in close proximity to the Oruc Reis.
Turkish-Greek tensions over drilling in the Mediterranean have been simmering for many months. The situation escalated last week when Athens signed an agreement with Egypt on the delimitation of maritime zones to reassert its sovereignty claims.
Ankara, however, signed an agreement with similar provisions with Libya last year. Turkey also conducted operations near Cyprus, which the EU also considers to be a violation of international law.