#Turkey vs #Greece - Erdogan's 'illegal' manoeuvres risk sparking 'hot ...

TURKEY's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan risks sparking all-out war in the eastern Mediterranean as a result his bullish decision to order research vessel the Oruc Reis back to waters close to the Greek island of Kastellorizo, an expert has warned.

PUBLISHED: 11:34, Thu, Nov 5, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:34, Thu, Nov 5, 2020

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Speaking yesterday, Stelios Petsa, deputy minister to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, criticised Mr Erdogan for issuing a NAVTEX confirming the return of the research vessel, just days after an earthquake close to the Greek island of Samos killed at least 85 people, mostly in the Turkish city of Izmir. Mr Petsa said he had registered his objections with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, pointing out that Mr Erdogan's announcement came just days after a conciliatory exchange of messages with Mr Mitsotakis on Twitter.

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Dr Alexander Kazamias, a senior lecturer in politics at Coventry University and an expert in the region, told Express.co.uk: "Turkey’s response to the Greek Prime Minister’s positive communication after last Friday’s deadly earthquake off the coast of Turkey is very disappointing.

"With his new illegal NAVTEX, Erdogan appears to have missed a good opportunity to start bilateral talks with Greece which, otherwise, his own Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hami Aksoy, claims that Turkey is after."

Dr Kazamias warned: "There is an increasingly unhealthy and worrying game of double-speak unfolding between Athens and Ankara.

Recep Tayyip ErdoganRecep Tayyip Erdogan risks sparking a "hot incident", said Dr Kazamias (Image: GETTY)

Kyriakos MitsotakisKyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece (Image: GETTY)

"Both call on the other side to start talks, yet both simultaneously undermine trust in a way that makes these talks impossible.

"Although Mitsotakis has his own share of responsibility since early October it is Erdogan who has been systematically undermining the talks and reducing his East Mediterranean diplomacy to a populist game of point-scoring.

"He did it with the illegal opening of the Varosha district in Cyprus, in violation of UN Resolution 550 (1984) and with new explorations of the "Oruc Reis" near the Greek island of Kastellorizo."

READ MORE: POLL: Should Leo Varadkar resign after outrageous leak?

Oruc ReisThe Oruc Reis, surrounded by Turkish naval vessels, in August (Image: GETTY)

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