The Greek island of Kastellorizo, also known as Meis, has become the centre of the contested eastern Mediterranean waters between Athens and Ankara.

In this photo provided by the Greek National Defense Ministry, warships take part in a Greek-US military exercise south of the island of Crete, August 24, 2020.
In this photo provided by the Greek National Defense Ministry, warships take part in a Greek-US military exercise south of the island of Crete, August 24, 2020. (Greek National Defense via AP / AP)

Greek troops have been observed mobilising on Kastellorizo as the island known as Meis in Turkish takes focus in the contested eastern Mediterranean waters between Athens and Ankara. 

The military activity was recorded by TRT World on Wednesday. A team in Kas in Turkey caught the movement of troops on a telephoto-zoom lens. 

Images published in the media last week showed Greek soldiers arriving on the island of Kastellorizo, opening a possible new front for the neighbours.

Turkey has called the move unacceptable and a violation of international law.

Kastellorizo island has been deemed a demilitarised zone under the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty.

Greece says Kastellorizo gives it hundreds of square kilometres of an exclusive economic zone, which would shut Turkey out of its coastal waters.

The Greek island is about 600 km away from mainland Greece and two kilometres from the Turkish coast in the eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara defies threat of sanctions

Greece had voiced hope on Monday that the threat of sanctions from its European Union partners would convince Turkey to stop its offshore energy prospecting in contested eastern Mediterranean waters, which has plunged the two regional rivals into their worst crisis since 1974.

But Ankara later said it was extending its oil and gas exploration mission for another 10 days.

Turkey's navy also plans to conduct naval manoeuvres in the area over the next two weeks in a signal that Ankara won't back down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey’s activities in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean are based on its search for rights and justice.

Speaking at the ceremony launching the 2020-2021 judicial year at the presidential complex, he said some countries have sought to confine Turkey to its shores, and called it “a blatant injustice.”

“It is the most explicit evidence of wrongdoing and injustice to attempt to confine Turkey – disregarding its gigantic size of 780,000 square kilometres – to its shores through an islet of 10 square kilometres,” he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies