Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Greece’s prime minister has warmly thanked France for its decision to boost its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek and Turkish warships are closely shadowing each other over a Turkish energy exploration bid in waters Athens claims as its own. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

Erdogan says Turkey could suspend relations with UAE after Israel deal

ISTANBUL (Agencies): President Erdogan on Friday said Turkey could suspend diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates after a landmark deal between Israel and Abu Dhabi.

“I gave an order to the foreign minister. I said we could suspend diplomatic relations with the Abu Dhabi administration or withdraw our ambassador,” Erdogan told reporters.

In the deal, Israel pledged to suspend its planned annexation of Palestinian lands in exchange for a normalisation of ties with the UAE.

Also, Turkey has responded to all interventions on its energy exploration ship in the Eastern Mediterranean and will continue to do so in the future, the Turkish defense minister said Friday.

“No intervention on our ships have been or will be left unanswered. We want everyone to know that we are unyielding on this issue,” Hulusi Akar said in a video conference with top commanders on duty in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, including the ships accompanying its seismic research vessel, the Oruc Reis.

“We’re determined to protect our rights and interests in our seas and to do what is necessary and we’re capable of doing so,” Akar added. “The Republic of Turkey as a state doesn’t covet anyone’s land,” said Akar, underlining that Ankara respected its neighbors’ territorial and political integrity.

“Greece doesn’t recognize international law in the Aegean and Mediterranean, only selfish, one-sided demands and approaches that protect its own interests and are incompatible with the facts. We endeavor to explain that the activities carried out this way are not compatible with reason, logic or law and that it doesn’t benefit anyone.”

Akar stressed that a recent maritime delimitation agreement signed last week between Greece and Egypt had “no legal basis” and that both countries were “at loss.”

He also asserted that international disputes must be resolved through dialogue as the “most important tool in solving the problems between Turkey and Greece.”

Earlier this week, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean region after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

The agreement came only a day after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.

But after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel to continue its activities in an area within the country’s continental shelf.

The ship will continue the two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the Cengiz Han and Ataman.

President Erdogan said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

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