The White House on Wednesday called on Greece and Turkey to commit to a dialogue and ease tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, yet Ankara continues aggressive rhetoric towards Athens.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke on the telephone with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urged the two leaders and NATO allies to have a dialogue and stop acts that generate tension.
“President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences,” a White House statement said.
Yet, Ankara continues issuing hostile statements against Greece. “Everyone must see that Turkey is not a country whose patience can be tried, whose determination, capabilities and courage can be tested. If we say we’ll do something we’ll do it and pay the price,” Erdogan said Wednesday.
“If anyone wants to stand before us and face the consequences, they are welcome to. If not, stay out of our way and we will continue with our work,” he added.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar warned that, “Turkey’s power should not be tested. Turkey’s borders are clear in the Eastern Mediterranean. We have said what will happen if you violate them. But we always emphasize that we are in favor of dialogue. Dialogue on the Eastern Mediterranean should be the first choice, otherwise undesirable situations will follow.”
Akar also said that Turkish seismic research ships will continue as long as it takes, with no time limitations, thus disputing Greece’s continental shelf around the islands of Kastellorizo and Karpathos. Currently, Turkish drill ships are inside Greece’s territorial waters, without conducting any research, though.