Turkey on Thursday rejected as “groundless” claims made by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt denouncing Ankara’s “unilateral provocations” over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Turkey of “imperialist fantasies” during a meeting on Wednesday with the leaders of Cyprus and Egypt.
The three countries hold regular summits as part of their closer energy cooperation as they seek to create a regional energy hub, along with Israel, supplying gas to Europe.
They denounced Turkey’s “unilateral provocations” over energy exploration in disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean and its role in war-torn Libya and Syria.
The Turkish foreign ministry said there would be no solution to problems in the region unless the countries involved changed their “maximalist and hostile policies”.
“We reject the statement which contains groundless accusations and allegations against our country as a whole,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
In defiance of warnings from Western countries, Turkey extended a gas exploration mission by its Oruc Reis research vessel in the eastern Mediterranean until October 27.
The Oruc Reis escorted by military navy ships has become the symbol of Ankara’s appetite for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, where recent discoveries have triggered a rush for the resource.
Athens says Ankara is breaking international law by prospecting in Greek waters, including near the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
Turkey insists that it is within its rights in the energy-rich Mediterranean region, saying that the tiny island of Kastellorizo should not count for imposing Greek sovereignty.
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