The national security adviser of Greece’s premier resigned Wednesday evening over recent comments of his on a Turkish drill ship active in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accepted the resignation of Aleksandros Diakopulos, who said the MTA Oruc Reis had carried out research on Greece’s continental shelf, marking the region.
“My statement yesterday caused confusion and created a problem for the prime minister and the government, which is something that was never my intention,” said Diakopulos in a statement.
Diakopulos’ contentious statement had caused uproar in Greece as it contradicted with Athens’ official position that it had blocked the vessel from the area.
Opposition parties condemned the government, accusing it of misleading the public.
Diakopulos later retracted the statement, saying his words were misunderstood and that he meant that the ship had “tried” to carry out seismic surveys in Greek waters, but was stopped.
In the first week of August, Turkey resumed energy exploration efforts in the eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.
The agreement came days after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.
But after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within its continental shelf as declared to the UN.
The ship will continue its two-week mission until Aug. 23, along with the vessels Cengiz Han and Ataman.
Ankara has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.
Turkey has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) — which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license — and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
President Erdogan said the only solution to the dispute would be through dialogue and negotiation, urging Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
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