Thursday, August 13, 2020

Greek military put on high alert as tensions with Turkey rise

Greece has placed its military forces on high alert, recalling its naval and air force officers from holiday, as tensions with Turkey over exploration of potentially lucrative offshore energy reserves escalate in the eastern Mediterranean.

With Ankara dispatching the Oruç Reis, a drillship escorted by gunboats, to conduct seismic research in contested waters, Athens stepped up calls for Turkey to stop the “illegal” activities, intensifying a diplomatic offensive that has prompted the US, EU, France and Israel to express growing anxiety over the situation.

“Our country does not threaten [anyone], but nor can it be blackmailed,” the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told the country on Wednesday night. “Let it be known to all: the risk of an accident lies in wait when so many military forces gather in a limited area.”

Amid the mounting international concern, Mitsotakis on Thursday thanked Emmanuel Macron, calling him a “true friend of Greece and fervent protector of European values and international law” after the French president demanded Turkey halt its explorations and said he would reinforce France’s military presence in the area

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