Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that if Greece extends its territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles this is “a cause of war.” He announced that the seismic vessels Oruc Reis will remain in the east Mediterranean Sea for 90 days – even if the European Union has given Turkey a deadline of one month, otherwise it will face economic sanctions.
“They cannot extend it to 12 miles. The decision taken by our Assembly years ago is valid. This could cause war,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday said the government is planning to submit a bill to double Greece’s territorial waters in the Ionian Sea, a day later, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that the country is considering to extend the territorial waters to 12 miles also south of Crete.
In the future, Greece could also extend its territorial waters in other maritime areas, he added.
In the mid-1990s, Greece had similarly attempted to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 miles, but scuttled the plan after Turkey declared such a move would cause war.
On Sunday, during the celebration of the 98th anniversary of Victory Day against the Greek forces in 1922, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “these lands are our eternal homeland”
He added that “Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean in particular, will not bow to threatening, intimidation and blackmailing language, will continue to defend its rights arising from international law and bilateral agreements.”
He claimed that Greeks are “invading” Turkey saying “it is no coincidence that those who tried to exclude our country from the Eastern Mediterranean and those who attempted to invade our country a century ago are the same invaders.”