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Turkey raises rhetoric in Greece standoff ahead of military drill

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday issued a threat to Greece over simmering tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the day before his forces launch military drills in the region.

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Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in an increasingly heated dispute over gas and oil in the region since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month.

"They will understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military strength to tear up immoral maps and documents," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

He was referring to contested areas claimed by Greece and Cyprus as their exclusive economic zones.

>> Troubled waters: Greek-Turkish escalations in the Mediterranean

"They will either understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or on the field through bitter experiences," the Turkish leader warned.

"As Turkey and the Turkish people we are ready for every possibility and every consequence."

Turkish and European naval forces in the Mediterranean © France 24

NATO said this week Greek and Turkish leaders had agreed to take part in technical talks to avoid accidents between their navies.

But Greece later said it had not agreed to the talks, leading to accusations from Turkey that the EU country was shunning dialogue.

Greece and Cyprus have accused Turkey of breaching their sovereignty by drilling in their waters.

But Erdogan made it clear that he would not compromise, saying: "Turkey is ready for any kind of sharing (of energy resources) as long as it is fair."

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