Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has warned Turkey there will be grave consequences for violating Cyprus waters accusing Ankara of weakness for picking on a country without a proper navy.
Tsipras said “everyone knows” that Turkey’s “futile” exploration in waters where Cyprus has economic rights and there is no naval deterrent indicated weakness on Ankara’s part.
He was responding to comments made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that the Greek PM “is speaking to himself when he says some things” and that Turkey would continue drilling whatever the EU says.
"This is a turbulent period for our region during which challenges have not ceased, instead they have multiplied,” said Tsipras.
“We proceed only in the framework of international law and whoever violates that, the sovereign rights of Greece and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, will face repercussions…the price will be high.”
Tsipras added: "We want peace and stability. We are a country that favours peace and dialogue. At the same time, we are determined to defend our sovereign rights as we have learned to do so from our history.”
Turkey says it’s protecting its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.
A Turkish drillship is operating off Cyprus’ west coast and Turkey has dispatched a second vessel to drill off the island east coast.
EU leaders have condemned the actions and warned of targeted sanctions.