Extremely dangerous and threatening statements were made by Mesut Hakky Jashin , foreign policy adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan . During his speech on a Turkish TV channel, he insulted not only Greece, but also France, threatening that Turkey would sink the aircraft carrier of this Western European country in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was covered in the Greek publication, Orthodox Times .
“Greece did not find natural gas (in the Eastern Mediterranean – Ed .), And although it does not have its own aircraft carrier, it is sending a French aircraft carrier here against Turkey. Greece is attacking us from someone else’s horse. This horse will be shot. This is the first thing. Secondly, Turkey is not a state without a voice. Our dear President said that we do not claim the rights of others, but we will not allow them to infringe on our rights. If there is someone who violates our rights, the Turkish nation will tear him to shreds. There is a very large (Turkish) army. Who dares to play with us in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas? ”Said the foreign policy adviser to the Turkish leader, who was previously noted for very provocative statements.
Jashin did not stop there, threatening Greece that the Turkish Air Force “will soon shoot down five or six Greek planes.”
“Does Greece really want to taste our fist? The Greeks do not yet realize this … Enough! Our pilots will soon shoot down five or six Greek planes and we will go to war. Under no circumstances can the Turkish people be under such pressure. Turkey is not a country that you can experience. The bayonets of the Turkish soldiers are in place and ready. We used to finish off the enemy with bayonets even without bullets. So – go ahead! ”, – the adviser to Erdogan broadcast.
Turkey is at risk of being drawn into a military confrontation in the Eastern Mediterranean because its current leadership “prefers strength over diplomacy.” This was stated in an interview with Reuters on September 3 by the former Prime Minister of the country, the leader of the newly created “Party of the Future” Ahmet Davutoglu . During his years in the same team with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, first as an adviser to the president and then as foreign minister, the ex-prime minister became the author of the foreign policy concept “Zero Problems with Neighbors”. Meanwhile, long before Davutoglu’s resignation from the prime minister’s post in 2016, this concept completely failed – new problems were added to Turkey’s old problems with neighboring countries.
Davutoglu said Ankara is genuinely unhappy with Athens’ claims to tens of thousands of square kilometers of water in the Eastern Mediterranean, but added that Erdogan’s approach is fraught with high risks. “Unfortunately, our government is not doing proper diplomatic action,” he lamented in an interview, warning that if both Greece and Turkey chose to escalate further, then “any crisis could break out and escalate at any time.”
We will recall that Turkey and Greece, two NATO members, announced at the end of August to conduct military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, in the area between Cyprus and Crete. France joined military exercises with Italy, Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean from 26 to 28 August. The military department of the largest country in Western Europe reported that three French multirole Rafale fighters and one frigate with a helicopter on board became part of joint maneuvers.
Turkey has previously renewed the exploration mission of its research vessel Oruç Reis in the Eastern Mediterranean, leading to increased tensions in the region. Oil and gas exploration work will continue until September 12. The Oruç Reis is protected by a special Turkish flotilla. The decision was taken by the Turkish side after the officials of the European Union called on the parties to the flaring conflict to dialogue with Ankara, and at the same time demanded that it refrain from unilateral steps in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek Foreign Ministry called the extension of the Turkish research mission illegal and called on the neighboring country to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and continue to work to ensure stability in the region.
Turkey claims some maritime areas under an agreement it signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in November 2019. Last month, Greece and Egypt entered into their own agreement to delineate their exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, leading to increased escalation in the region. Greece insists that it has exclusive rights to operate in areas of the Mediterranean where Turkey is trying to conduct test drilling in search of new oil and gas fields. Ankara, in turn, refers to the terms of the agreement concluded with the UN-recognized Libyan government in Tripoli.