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Mediterranean on RED ALERT as Erdogan threatens ‘war’ with Greece – terrifying warning

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And one analyst has gone further by accusing Mr Erdogan of trying to provoke war, warning: “He will be surprised.” The 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea on Friday, 13 kilometres north-east of the Greek island of Samos, and close to the Turkish city of Izmir, where the majority of casualties have occurred, with many also missing.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted Mr Erdogan in the wake of the tremor to offer his condolences, and Mr Erdogan responded in kind.

However, a statement issued by the Stelios Petsa, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, said: “Despite the positive climate of this communication, which could be a reason for the easing of tension, a few hours later, Turkey proceeded to the launch of a new illegal NAVTEX, within the Greek continental shelf.

“We immediately proceeded to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, as well as to inform partners and allies.

“Greece calls on Turkey to immediately withdraw the illegal NAVTEX and return to exploratory contacts, for the only pending issue between the two countries, the delimitation of maritime zones.”

In an op-ed for the Greek City Times, Michail Ignatiou, a US-based journalist and expert in Greek affairs, went further, saying: “If he believed even one word of his message in response to Mitsotakis’ tweet, he would end the provocations.

“He mourns the earthquake that struck Samos and Izmir but does not think that the wars he plans and implements leaves hundreds dead on the battlefield.

“The deadly earthquake, then, reminded the Athenian elite of the time in 1999, when in August and September they were hit by an earthquake, first Turkey and then Greece.

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“When for a while the ‘earthquake diplomacy’, as it was called then, prevailed and which ended up nowhere.

“Not because Greece did not want it but Turkey was again responsible, as it is today.”

Mr Ignatiou added: “I cannot believe that there is even one person in Greece who does not prefer peace to war. Not because people refuse to fight to protect national sovereignty and independence. No. If necessary they will do it.”

Mr Ignotiou urged Mr Erdogan not to underestimate the Greek Prime Minister, would not hesitate to act if he deemed it necessary.

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He added: “I doubt if even Erdogan understands this, who may think that Greece is small like Cyprus.

“He will be surprised if he goes ahead and provokes the war.

“Today, Turkey has upgraded its provocations to ‘red alert’ levels, maintains drilling rigs and research vessels that accompany Navy warships in the Aegean and the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, and the worst thing is that it shouts it is ready for a military confrontation.

“And also, Greece and Cyprus have against them Erdogan, who knows what he wants and uses all the dirty means to achieve them.

He will be surprised if he goes ahead and provokes the war

Michail Ignatiou

“It is naive to believe that he led things to a point, that some believe is irreversible, to abandon it because he spoke with the Prime Minister of Greece about the earthquake in the two countries.

“We hope that the devastating earthquake, which killed our fellow human beings on both sides of the Aegean, will serve as the vehicle for Islamic Turkey to stop threats and blackmail and to sit at the negotiating table with reason and prudence.

“And we will be the first to applaud ‘earthquake diplomacy’ with Turkey.

The first good step would be the immediate departure of Turkey’s Oruç Reis from the Aegean and Barbaros from the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Turkey has issued a notice known as a NAVTEX confirming that the Oruc Reis will be searching for oil and gas until November 14, along with two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Hami Aksoy, spokesman Of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, said: “Turkey is ready to cooperate with Greece and to solve the issues between the two countries through dialogue. Needless to say, we will continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with determination.

“We expect Greece to refrain from escalatory steps in the region, contribute to create a suitable atmosphere for negotiations and declare that she is ready for the talks; instead of accusing Turkey with groundless allegations and as usual complaining to third parties.

“We hereby invite Greece, once again, to dialogue with Turkey in order to address both the issue of maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean and other interrelated issues between the two countries, without preconditions.”

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