Turkey extends Mediterranean gas exploration mission

Turkey extends Mediterranean gas exploration mission

The Greek government had no comment on Turkey's demand to demilitarize the 12-square-kilometer (4.6-square-mile) island, which lies off the Turkish coast and is the most distant Greek outpost in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking at the ceremony launching 2020-2021 judicial year at the presidential complex on Tuesday, Erdogan said some countries have sought to confine Turkey to its shores, calling it "a blatant injustice".

What's next: Ankara on Monday again prolonged the Oruc Reis' mission, this time issuing a new NAVTEX that said its work will continue until September 12. "Turkey will not bow to the language of threats, intimidation and blackmail, especially in the eastern Mediterranean, and will continue to defend its rights under worldwide law and bilateral agreements", he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed late Monday to continue the gas exploration work "with determination".

"It's laughable now to use as bait a country (Greece) which could not even fight its way out of a paper bag against a regional and global power like Turkey", Erdogan said in a speech at his palace in Ankara.

"Turkey is powerful enough to deter anyone who attempts to seize its rights and interests by deploying an "armada", the statement said.

Ankara's relations with Athens have deteriorated sharply, with strains over issues including migration and Turkey's decision to convert Byzantine-era churches into mosques including the Istanbul landmark Hagia Sophia.

While he was mocking and insulting Greece, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated that Turkey is also willing to negotiate with Greece although Erdogan canceled planned earlier talks after Greece made its pact with Egypt.

With Turkish media featuring images of Greek soldiers arriving on the island, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said Sunday that their presence violated a 1947 peace treaty.

These shocking revelations made by Die Welt quoting Turkish military sources shows just how desperate Erdoğan is to provoke a war with Greece as the Turkish economy rapidly declines.

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