Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday slammed his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, over his criticism of Turkey’s latest activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Do not mess with the Turkish people, do not mess with Turkey,’’ Erdogan said in Istanbul, chiding the French leader for “not listening” to warnings.
“Mister Macron, you will have a lot more problems with me,’’ Erdogan said at an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a coup in Turkey, quoting Macron as saying that he has a problem with Erdogan.
Earlier this week, Macron charged that Turkey was “no longer a partner’’ in the Mediterranean, citing its maritime claims and drilling for gas in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.
Macron’s statements came during an informal summit with southern EU countries, who also warned Turkey against “unilateral activities” in the eastern Mediterranean. Greece and Cyprus have for weeks been sparring with Turkey over areas in the eastern Mediterranean that the two EU members and Ankara all claim the right to prospect and drill for gas.
The Mediterranean stand-off has seen Turkey send research vessels into contested waters, EU allies dispatch ships to the region, and both Ankara and Athens carry out military manoeuvres.
Turkish survey vessel, Oruc Reis, is still off Cyprus, although it was scheduled to leave on Saturday.