The latest "tough talk" emanating from neighboring Turkey came from none other than powerful Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, during a military ceremony take possession of two new vessels - corvette and a submarine - for the country's navy.
According to statements carried by the Turkish media, the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan told a crowd of military personnel and civilians that "we will never allow efforts which are aimed at preventing Turkey from accessing the seas ... Recent events in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean have shown once again that our country’s navy should be as strong as the other elements (of the armed forces)," he said, adding:
"Ankara will never allow attempts to extract natural resources from the eastern Mediterranean to succeed, without including Turkey and the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' ... We will never give permission to efforts aimed at preventing Turkey from accessing the seas ...Just as we gave lessons to terrorists in Syria, we will not leave the seas to bandits," were the statements as translated from the original Turkish.
He was referring to a pseudo-state illegally established in the 1983 on the one-third of Cyprus' territory still occupied by the Turkish military, an entity only recognized by the occupying power, Turkey.
Erdogan's comments come on the heels of shrill reactions by Ankara over the past month to continued international hydrocarbon exploration in Cyprus' EEZ, as well as the prospect of Athens increasing territorial waters in some of its sea regions to 12 nautical miles, as foreseen in the UN Law of the Sea.