Turkish government communications director Fahrettin Altun claimed the eastern Mediterranean Sea as part of his country’s “Blue Homeland”, as tensions remain high in the region.
Altun said on Thursday that some countries had been ramping up tensions in the area and that Turkey “will never give up our rights and interests” while adding that the country did not want to abandon a diplomatic approach.
He told Turkish radio that the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea is an area to which Turkey “has had a strong claim throughout history” and that the country still had such claims to a “Blue Homeland” today, Greek newspaper I Kathimerini reports.
Former Turkish PM Says Erdogan Aggression Risks Military Clash with Greece https://t.co/SFIwUWbv5V
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 5, 2020
The concept of the Blue Homeland was developed by Turkish admiral Cem Gurdeniz over a decade ago and refers to the maritime region near Turkey, which includes areas that Greece considers part of its territory in the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also embraced the Blue Homeland doctrine and backed a maritime agreement with Libya which Greece has labelled as illegal.
The doctrine also manifested itself last year when the Turkish government sent the research vessel Oruc Reis into the Mediterranean to conduct a seismic study to find natural resources in territory Greece claims is part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Turkey also sends warships to prevent Cyprus from conducting similar research in its waters, deeming it not to be the interests of the Turkish population in the island’s north, which became an unrecognised Turkish puppet state following an invasion in 1974.
Tensions between Turkey and several European Union member-states such as Greece, France, and Cyprus remain high, but earlier this week Turkey claimed that it wanted to repair the damaged relationship with the European Union.
The turnaround in tone comes a month after NATO head Jens Stoltenberg called for more dialogue between EU member-states and “Western” Turkey, as several members of the bloc had pushed for sanctions and possibly dissolving the customs union between the EU and Turkey.
The Islamist-led country is, like Greece, a member of the NATO alliance.
Last Byzantine Greeks Facing Extinction in Islamist-Led Turkey https://t.co/znRQUIvWo8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 27, 2020