ANKARA

Anybody who tries to block Turkish energy exploration in its coastal waters will regret it, said the head of a Turkish political party on Thursday.

“Anyone who dares to confront our navy and research ships in the [Eastern] Mediterranean or the Aegean will pay the heaviest price,” Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said in a written statement.

Bahceli reiterated that Turkey’s rightful actions are in line with international law, adding that they “upended global plans.”

Greece, France, Egypt, and other countries have moved to deprive Turkey of Mediterranean energy resources and box it in, even though it has the largest coastline on the sea of any country.

Bahceli added: “France dispatching a frigate with two warplanes to the Mediterranean will only mean an escalation of the current crisis.”

On Saturday, it was announced that a 2017 defense cooperation agreement between Greek Southern Cyprus and France had entered into force on Aug. 1.

Under the deal, on Aug. 11, two French Air Force warplanes and a transport aircraft landed at Andreas Papandreou Air Base in the city of Baf, Southern Cyprus.

If need be, Bahceli said, Turkey will defend its land and sea borders by force.

He said that the Turkish nation will overcome all obstacles with a spirit of unity and solidarity.

Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey last week resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

The Oruc Reis will continue its two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the vessels Cengiz Han and Ataman.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating Turkey’s legitimate interests.

Turkey has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license – and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the only solution to the dispute lies through dialogue and negotiation, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev

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