Erdogan says any attack on Turkish ship in Mediterranean dispute will exact 'high price'
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that any attack on a Turkish ship exploring for oil and gas in disputed Mediterranean waters would incur a 'high price' and suggested Turkey had already acted on that warning. Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have risen sharply this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, in a move Greece decried as illegal
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that any attack on a Turkish ship exploring for oil and gas in disputed Mediterranean waters would incur a "high price" and suggested Turkey had already acted on that warning.
Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have risen sharply this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, in a move Greece decried as illegal.
"We said that if you attack our Oruc Reis you will pay a high price, and they got their first answer today," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara without giving details.
The Oruc Reis set out on Monday with its military escort to survey waters between Crete and Cyprus.
In response, President Emmanuel Macron said France would increase its military presence in the region and called on Ankara to stop its exploration work. French and Greek forces held military training exercises off Crete on Thursday.
European Union foreign ministers, who have already imposed sanctions on two Turkish energy executives over Turkey's operations in the eastern Mediterranean, will discuss the situation on Friday.
Greece's foreign ministry said Minister Nikos Dendias will brief EU counterparts "about the real facts of the recent days regarding operations in the region" at the emergency meeting.
Erdogan spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Council President Charles Michel on Thursday. He "reiterated his commitment to defend Turkey's rights against attempts to disregard them", Erdogan's office said of the call with Michel.
Both Turkey and Greece said this week that they were willing to resolve the dispute over their overlapping maritime claims, but vowed to protect their interests and blamed the other side for the stand-off.
"If we act with common sense and reason, we can find a win-win solution that meets everyone's interests," Erdogan said earlier on Thursday. "We are not chasing any unnecessary adventures or seeking tensions."
In apparent reference to France, Erdogan also said Greece was being pushed into taking "wrong steps" in the region by "a country that doesn't even have a coast in the eastern Mediterranean".
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu, Ali Kucukgocmen and Daren Butler in Turkey and Angeliki Koutantou in Greece; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Giles Elgood and Grant McCool)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.