Turkey announces provocative military plans near Crete – huge warning to EU before summit
Turkey has sparked controversy in the region after sending survey ships into the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Ahead of the crucial EU summit on December 10, NAVTEX orders were issued by the Turkish military.
The drills will be held on Monday, southeast of the island of Crete in a daring move by the Turkish government.
NAVTEX messages are information sent to other ships to inform them of activity in the area.
The drills will be conducted specifically between the islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo next week.
It is expected that the current situation between Greece and Turkey will be discussed at next week’s summit.
Previously, Brussels has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if it continued to make unilateral decisions in the waters.
The controversy surrounds the energy explorations of the Oruc Reis vessel which returned to the mainland two weeks ago.
The ship has conducted two separate exploration missions in the Eastern Mediterranean with Ankara arguing the region is on the Turkish shelf, and therefore in its territory.
Speaking last week, EU Council President warned Tuirkey its movements in the waters now need to end.
He said: “I think that the cat and mouse game needs to end.
“We will have a debate at the European summit on 10 December and we are ready to use the means at our disposal.”
Previously, Greece has warned Turkey risks sparking a serious escalation if it continues with its survey missions.
Both countries have also performed drills in the water in a show of force in Eastern Mediterranean.
Such is the dire state of affairs in the region, French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Turkey’s actions.
Mr Macron has been one of the leading voices for sanctions against Turkey within Europe.
He said previously: “When it comes to Mediterranean sovereignty, I have to be consistent in deeds and words.
“Germany and other partners are beginning to agree with us that Turkey’s agenda is problematic today.
“When six months ago people were saying France is the only one blaming Turkey for things, everyone now sees that there is a problem.”