Greek and Turkish leaders dug in their heels Wednesday even after their foreign ministers proposed talks to settle rival claims to energy-rich sections of the Mediterranean.
Greece announced plans Wednesday to extend its territorial waters along its western coastline and held a second day of military exercises in waters where Turkey challenges Greek claims of jurisdiction.
Turkey carried out military exercises nearby.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Athens has the right to extend its territorial waters along its western coastline across from Italy from 11 to 22 kilometers.
This section of the Ionian Sea is not part of the dispute with Turkey, but Mitsotakis said Greece was giving up years of what it calls a “passive” foreign policy. Turkey would regard a similar extension in the Aegean, which is between Greece and Turkey, as blatant hostility.
“Everyone must see that Turkey is not a country whose patience can be tried, whose determination, capabilities and courage can be tested. If we say we’ll do something we’ll do it and pay the price,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. "If anyone wants to stand before us and face the consequences, they are welcome to. If not, stay out of our way and we will continue with our work.”
The White House said U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Mitsotakis by telephone Wednesday and expressed concern over the tensions between Greece and Turkey.
“President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences,” a White House statement said.
Greece and Turkey are locked in a dispute over boundaries in the Mediterranean and the rights to drill for offshore gas and oil deposits.
Greece claims a Turkish research ship is in its waters, in which it has exclusive rights to whatever is under the sea floor.
Turkey insists the exclusive economic zones of Greek islands in the Agean near the Turkish coast should be greatly reduced.
Turkey accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of the eastern Mediterranean’s resources while Greece is also angered by Turkish energy exploration in waters where Cyrus claims exclusive economic rights.
Cyprus is split between an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish-Cypriot north that only Turkey recognizes.