The European Union’s top leaders may have taken the strongest ever public position against Turkey, in regard to its mounting aggressiveness towards Greece and Cyprus, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan very quickly dismissed EU pressures, digging in his heels on Turkish demands against the two countries regarding territory and natural resources that have been a staple of Turkish foreign policy for decades.
The only difference now is that while Ankara has for decades been able to block Greece’s oil and gas exploration in the Aegean, Cyprus’ hydrocarbons programme has advanced to such a degree that the exploitation of apparently huge gas deposits is clearly within sight.
A four-hour bi-annual meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council – chaired by Erdogan yesterday – naturally focused on Ankara’s operations in Syria and its next steps in the region, but relations with Greece and Turkey were discussed in the shadow of the EU’s withering attacks on Turkish aggressiveness.
The powerful Council made clear that Ankara will continue to actively pursue its claims and interests in the Aegean and in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
Indeed, Greece was accused of not upholding the principles of good neighbourly relations, which is precisely the charge that EU leaders have lodged against Turkey.