Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos says all statements made by officials from neighboring Turkey are about war, Vice News reported on Wednesday.
“Whenever a top official from Turkey makes a statement, it is a statement that involves talk of war,” said Panagiotopoulos. “War in Syria. War in the Middle East. War in the Aegean. Now if that isn’t aggressive rhetoric, then I’m wondering what type of rhetoric it is.”
Tensions between Greece and Turkey are not new, but the discovery of natural gas and oil deposits has brought them to a boil just when Turkey’s apparent drift away from NATO is causing alarm in Washington and Athens, according to Vice reporter Aris Roussinos.
Greece, Cyprus, and Israel have been conducting joint military drills to enhance cooperation, while also pushing forward with plans for a pipeline to transport the newly discovered oil and gas to the European Union, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russia, according to Roussinos.
“We want peace in the region. We do not wish any kind of conflict. But at the same time, in order to maintain the status quo as it is, we are taking a very confident and resolute position against Turkish behavior,” Panagiotopoulos told Vice, saying his forces are ready for any development. “There is no other way.”