ANKARA

Turkey’s foreign minister on Tuesday warned Greece against taking missteps in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary” to protect its legitimate interests in the region.

Mevlut Cavusoglu’s remarks came at a joint news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in the capital Ankara after they discussed a variety of issues, including the COVID-19 outbreak, developments in Libya, and especially the Eastern Mediterranean.

He also urged Greece to not to “put itself at risk” by rising to the bait of “some countries” in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He did not name any countries, but Greece recently worked with France and Egypt against Turkish maritime foreign policy.

Cavusoglu stressed that the recent escalation in tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean is due to the approach of Greece and Greek Cypriot administration, not Turkey’s.

During the news conference, Maas also underlined that escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean helps neither the EU, nor Turkey, nor Greece.

This week Turkey and later Greece sent out conflicting alerts on energy exploration and military exercises in the Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.

Dialogue for fair sharing of these resources will be win-win for all sides, say Turkish officials.

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