Seconds Out! Why Turkey And Greece Are Trading Verbal And Diplomatic Punches Yet Again 

The Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean has seen naval and land conflict since the Trojan War in the 12th century BC. But now tensions between Turkey and Greece have risen to boiling point again because of hydrocarbons.

Turkey has vowed to send a reconnaissance vessel, the Oruç Reis, back to disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean after it undergoes routine maintenance.

The announcement, on Monday 14 September, suggests President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in no mood to back down in the wake of Greece’s declaration on Sunday that it would buy 18 Rafale jet fighters from France.

The two countries have been rattling sabres for several weeks as tensions rise over the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean and especially near the island of Cyprus.

​The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, penned an article in The Times newspaper on Thursday, 10 September, in which he said: “Greece has the military capacity to fend off any Turkish aggression.”

He called for the Turks to refrain from “naval and scientific activity in non-delineated waters” and for them to “rein in aggressive rhetoric”.  

On Sunday the Turkish government confirmed the Oruç Reis had left the contested waters south of Cyprus.

Mr Mitsotakis welcomed it as a “positive first step” but on Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “This is routine maintenance and crew replenishment work” and he warned Greece it would be a “mistake” to…

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