Germany Warns that East Med Tension is “Like Playing with Fire”

Credit: Hellenic National Defence General Staff

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Tuesday that the current situation in the East Med, where Greek and Turkish navies are gathered, is “like playing with fire.”

Speaking after a meeting in Athens with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias he called for the de-escalation of tension between Greece and Turkey saying said that the “the slightest spark could be disastrous.”

Maas meets Mitsotakis in Athens on Tuesday. Credit: Greek government

“Greece will defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights, without arrogance, threats and bombast,” Dendias said in his comments to the press following the meeting.

After Athens, Maas is scheduled to travel to Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Maas’ warning comes as Turkey and Greece announced rival military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean for Tuesday.

Tensions over energy riches around Cyprus retched up another notch when Turkey sent the Oruc Reis research vessel accompanied by warships over the Greek continental shelf on August 10.

Greece and its EU ally France both dispatched their own naval assets to the area to monitor Turkey’s work.

On Monday a joint Greek-American naval and air force exercise took place south of Crete. The exercise included the participation of a Greek frigate and submarine, as well as sic F-16 fighter jets, along with American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, and navy helicopters from both sides.