Anger in the eastern Mediterranean with Turkey as warships sail into Greek territory

Greece had to call warships in as Turkish vessels were seen in her territory without permission.

Athens has called it ‘another major escalation of tensions’ between the two nations.

The Turkish Navy issued an advisory late on Sunday announcing that a ship, named as the Oruc Reis, would conduct a seismic survey to the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo until October 22nd.

The aim of the mission is for the vessel to resume its survey of hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

However, Greece has reacted angrily with  Greece’s foreign ministry saying, “The new Turkish NAVTEX on surveys south of Kastellorizo within the Greek continental shelf, at a distance of just 6.5 nautical miles from Greek shores, is a major escalation.”

The ship was told to leave when it started it’s survey on behalf of the Turkish last month, but then returned.

Greece say they tried diplomatic talks with Ankara but were ‘denied’.

Monday’s move showed Ankara was “unreliable” and “does not really truly want a dialogue” the Greek Foreign Minister’s statement said.

“We call on Turkey to recall its decision,” Greece said, describing the research mission as a “direct threat to regional peace and security”.

It added that Ankara was “the foremost factor of instability” in the region “from Libya to the Aegean and Cyprus, Syria, Iraq and now Nagorno-Karabakh”.

Tensions came to a head this summer when each side made overlapping claims to swaths of the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey dispatched the Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects, infuriating Greece.

Turkey pulled the vessel out in mid-September to “allow for diplomacy” ahead of an October 1 European Union summit.

But at the summit, the bloc said it would punish Turkey and threatened sanctions if it continued its operations in the region, in a move Ankara said further strained Turkey-EU ties.

According to Turkey’s maritime notice, two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han along with the Oruc Reis exploration ship, will continue working in an area including that south of Kastellorizo.

Turkey has claimed that energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

 


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