Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday that Turkey could become part of its energy cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean if Ankara gave up what he called its “imperial pipe dreams”, Greek City Times reported.
“Turkey is welcome to give up its imperial pipe-dreams and become part of our area of cooperation, but only as an equal and lawful partner, not as the neighbourhood bully,” Mistotakis said in an interview with Israeli news outlet Ynet.
Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed an agreement for a pipeline project to ship natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean region to Europe in 2018.
The estimated €7 billion EastMed pipeline project, which is expected to cover 10 percent of Europe’s overall need for natural gas, is part of soaring regional tensions with Ankara, which is seeking to expand its claims over gas-rich areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Turkey is undermining stability in the region. It aims to control politically and militarily the entire area of the eastern Mediterranean,” Mitsotakis said.
Turkey says some parts of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) lie on its continental shelf, and objects to drilling by Cyprus, which it calls an infringement on the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Tensions also further escalated in the region after Turkey Ankara struck two deals with the internationally-recognised government in Libya; an agreement that establishes Turkey and Libya as maritime neighbours, and a security agreement that allows Turkey to transfer arms and troops to help the Libyan government in the ongoing war in the country.
Greece says the maritime deal ignores the territorial waters around its islands of Rhodes and Crete, and is meant to block the EastMed gas pipeline project.