Greece will not enter Turkey’s ‘insane asylum’, minister says

Greece will defend its legal rights in the Mediterranean rather than get drawn into the potentially insane patterns of behaviour of Turkey, Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said. 

“If Turkey has decided to open the door of the insane asylum, we will not enter, we will defend our rights,” Hatzidakis told Greek broadcaster SKAI, the Greek City Times reported on Monday.

Political and military tensions between Greece and Turkey intensified last week in a three-month dispute over territory after Turkey sent the Oruç Reis research ship back into Greek-claimed waters between Cyprus and Crete, sparking calls from Athens for European Union sanctions. Turkey had withdrawn the vessel as the two countries agreed to exploratory talks to resolve the standoff in late September.

Turkey “is out of control” and President Recep Tayyip “Erdoğan is becoming more and more unpredictable,” Hatzidakis said. A window for peace may be narrowing and Greece is prepared for the worst-case scenario, he said.

“We want peace, but we are not prepared to relinquish Greece’s maritime rights.”

Greek government spokesperson Stelios Petsas told ERT, a local TV channel, that Greek sovereign rights were a red line, according to the Greek City Times.

The Oruç Reis was located in an area east of Crete and the Greek island of Karpathos on Monday, accompanied by the Cengiz Han supply ship, according to marinetraffic.com.

Turkey deceived the EU by signalling reconciliation with Greece ahead of an emergency summit of the bloc’s political leaders in October, which delayed possible sanctions, Petsas said. The EU’s political leaders decided to revisit the issue at another summit in December to give bilateral talks a chance.