Greek minister says Turkey wants to create a ‘fait accompli’ in East Mediterranean

Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos said Turkey's actions in a dispute over energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean were provocative, and the country had been trying to create a "fait accompli", Financial Mirror reported on Tuesday.

“Turkey is not aiming to provoke a war, but rather to create a fait accompli,” said Katrougalos in an interview on the Greek radio station Real FM.

Ankara has been in a bitter dispute with Athens and Nicosia over the island's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and natural gas drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Cypriot authorities on Monday issued arrest warrants against 25 people, including crew assisting the Turkish drilling vessel Fatih, and officials at firms partnered with the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation.

Turkey announced last week that it would send a second drillship named Yavuz to areas near Cyprus by July, in addition to Fatih, which has been inside Cyprus’ unilaterally declared EEZ since early May, with plans to conduct the drilling not inside the island's actual EEZ, but in territory that Greece claims for its own.

Following the arrest warrants, the Turkish foreign ministry said the Cypriot government had crossed the line, adding that Turkey would take counter-measures if necessary.

Katrougalos said that the rising tension, produced by Turkey’s "provocative actions", raises the possibility for an incident in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Turkey disputes the boundaries of the EEZ and says exploitation of the island’s resources by the Greek Cypriot administration infringes on the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into the predominantly Greek south, whose government is internationally recognised, and the Turkish north, whose sovereignty is only recognised by Ankara.