Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wanted the Turkish navy to sink a Greek naval vessel a few days ago but was turned down by high-ranking military officers, a report by the German Die Welt newspaper claimed on Tuesday.
According to the report by Marion Sendker that cites unnamed sources from within the Turkish military, Erdoğan wanted to score political points at home by destroying a Greek naval vessel without any casualties.
“When the generals refused, someone else suggested shooting down a Greek jet instead. The pilot could use the ejection seat to save himself. But the generals refused to do that as well,” the report, titled “Erdogan’s calculated war,” said.
The German newspaper’s report appeared after news published by Turkish and Greek news outlets claimed France had dispatched its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the eastern Mediterranean. Reports cite unnamed sources from France.
Turkish exploration vessel Oruc Reis is carrying out seismic surveys in a contested area of the eastern Mediterranean. It will continue doing so until Sept. 12, the Turkish navy said on Monday.
Tensions over disputed waters purportedly rich in hydrocarbon resources came to a boiling point after both sides conducted military drills in the region.
Footage showing Greek soldiers disembarking from a ferry on the island of Kastellorizo emerged on Friday, prompting Turkish President Erdoğan to accuse Greece of “piracy.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the Greek army’s presence on the island violated a 1947 peace treaty. “We will not allow such a provocation just across from our shores,” ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.