Oct 18, 2020 09:43 UTC
  • EU ‘captive’ to Greece in Eastern Mediterranean row: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has censured the European Union’s stance in a dispute over energy exploration and territorial rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying the bloc has become “captive” to Greece.

Turkey has been involved in a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean for months.

Tensions escalated in August as Turkey dispatched the seismic research vessel, Oruc Reis, and warships escorting it to prospect for energy resources in an area in the sea that is disputed with Greece, infuriating Athens.

The ship was withdrawn temporarily, but was sent back on Wednesday, reigniting the tensions.

In remarks aboard the drilling vessel Fatih on Saturday, Erdogan also raised the estimated reserves in a gas field off its Black Sea coast to 405 billion cubic meters, which he had put at 320 billion cubic meters back in August, making it Turkey's biggest natural gas discovery.

The European Union has previously threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey over the activities in the disputed waters. Greece and Cyprus also pushed for a tougher response to Turkey's natural gas exploration in disputed waters at an EU summit on Friday.

Erdogan slammed on Saturday the EU’s stance and accused the EU of “double standard,” adding the reliability of the bloc has already diminished.

"The European Union is doing the most damage to itself by becoming captive to Greece and Greek Cypriots. The reliability of the European Union has already diminished because of the double standard the bloc imposes on our country at the cost of defying all the values it has been defending to this day,” the Turkish president said.