French President Emmanuel Macron published a Facebook post in Greek showing solidarity with Greece and Cyprus as tensions have escalated this week in the Mediterranean.
“Europe must carry out a thorough examination of security issues in the Mediterranean,” Macron wrote (translated from Greek), adding that he would call a meeting of southern European leaders to discuss the issues.
“Once again, I would like to express France’s full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece towards Turkish violations of their sovereign rights,” the French president wrote. “We must not accept threatening the maritime area of an EU Member State.”
Macron’s statement comes one day after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed his country’s armed forces on high alert in response to Turkey’s threats to send a surveying ship into Greek waters for drilling and seismic surveys.
“The imposition of sanctions by the EU against Turkey will be a one-way street,” Mitsotakis said after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “It is up to Turkey to choose what relationship it wants to have with Greece, with Cyprus, with Europe. But I think at the moment it seems to be choosing the wrong path.”
The U.S. State Department urged Turkey to avoid drilling plans in the Eastern Mediterranean that would worsen regional tensions. But the State Department’s message prompted condemnation from Greek diaspora organizations for referring to the region as “disputed waters.”
“As long as the United States continues to describe Greece’s maritime zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean as ‘disputed’ and fails to hold Turkey accountable, it sends a signal to Erdogan that he can keep bullying U.S. allies in the region,” tweeted Thanos Davelis, director of public affairs at the Hellenic American Leadership Council.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, The American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA) expressed “alarm and grave concern” over Turkey’s actions, while also protesting the State Department’s “erroneous and unacceptable” use of the term “disputed” in reference to Eastern Mediterranean waters.
“The State Department’s urging Turkish authorities to halt its operations is welcomed,” AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates wrote in the letter. “However, any reference by the United States to Greece’s continental shelf as ‘disputed waters’ is simply unacceptable, erroneous, and only serves to embolden Turkey. It also runs contrary to repeated statements made by U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt that Greek islands are entitled to continental shelf and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as recently as last week.”
The featured image at the top of this article is courtesy of www.kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons
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