Turkey warned Greece on Tuesday it would not tolerate a shift in the Greek maritime border, a few days after Athens said it planned to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles to the west of the country.
Territorial waters are a sensitive issue between the two neighbours, who are separated by the Aegean Sea. Turkey and Greece have been at odds over their respective continental shelves for decades.
Turkey has previously warned it could not preclude military action to defend its interests.
Former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who resigned last week, said on Saturday that Athens planned to extend its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea, which flanks the west coast of the country. The planned measure would not affect the Aegean region, off Greece’s eastern and southern coasts.
Turkey’s foreign ministry, however, said that it had noted statements from Athens of plans for the gradual expansion of Greek territorial waters.
“It is not possible to tolerate steps where there is no bilateral agreement on the Aegean where the two countries have mutual shores,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
The statement recalled a 1995 declaration of Turkey’s parliament which had authorised action, not excluding military action, to safeguard Turkish interests.
“(Parliament’s) declaration…dated 8 June 1995 has the necessary political warning in this context and it still maintains its validity today,” the statement added.