Turkey is determined to do whatever is necessary to obtain its rights in the Black Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
Speaking at an event commemorating the 11th century military victory by Seljuk Turks over the Byzantine empire at Malazgirt, Erdogan also called on Ankara’s counterparts to avoid mistakes that he said would bring their destruction.
“We will not compromise what is ours… We are determined to do whatever is necessary,” Erdogan said.
Earlier, Germany’s top diplomat said after whirlwind meetings in Turkey and Greece on Tuesday the two were ready for dialogue to defuse an worsening dispute over energy resources in the Mediterranean, even as the NATO allies traded new barbs.
Turkey and Greece vehemently disagree over natural gas reserves off Cyprus and the extent of their continental shelves. They have drawn the European Union and nearby countries into the dispute, which earlier this month flared into a light collision between Turkish and Greek frigates.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey both said they wanted to solve the issue through dialogue following talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, but each warned that they would continue to defend their rights in the region.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece escalated after Ankara sent its Oruc Reis survey vessel to disputed eastern Mediterranean waters this month, a move Athens called illegal.
After talks in Athens and Ankara, Maas urged Greece and Turkey to turn to dialogue, though added that Germany and the EU stood with fellow member state Greece.
“In both meetings in Athens as well as in Ankara I kept hearing that the only way to reach an understanding was to start a dialogue in which both differing standpoints were put on the table,” Maas told a news conference in Ankara.
“No one wants to settle this conflict militarily, which would be absolute madness,” he said, speaking alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Turkey and Greece meanwhile held rival military drills in the same theatre of the Mediterranean. Maas likened the dispute to “playing with fire” and warned that “every little spark can lead to catastrophe”.