The renewed efforts of Turkey’s seismic research vessel, the Oruc Reis, in the Eastern Mediterranean will be within the Turkish continental shelf hundreds of kilometers away from the Greek mainland, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Responding to a recent Greek statement decrying Turkey’s NAVTEX (navigational telex) in the region, the ministry said in a written statement that the vessel had undergone maintenance in Turkey’s southern Port of Antalya for a month and would continue its activities until Oct. 22.
Navtex is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, as well as other information.
The statement said the ship would be active in an area 425 kilometers (264 miles) off the Greek mainland and only 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Turkey, adding that the Greek statement was a mere repetition of Athens’ baseless allegations in violation of international law.
It underlined that Turkey had the longest shoreline in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Greek objection to its activities just kilometers from the Turkish mainland was unacceptable.
The objection by Greece was based on its maximalist approach boosted by the Seville Map, which was announced legally invalid both by the US and EU, the ministry added.
According to the statement, even Greek authorities were aware that a single island — Kastelorizo, or Meis — would not constitute a maritime area stretching for 40,000 kilometers, and this demand neither complied with the international law nor international court rulings.
The statement concluded that Greece should withdraw its maximalist demands, end its military drills escalating regional tensions and establish sincere dialogue through exploratory talks.
In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey’s goodwill gesture in halting its search.
Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue its activities in an area within Turkey’s continental shelf.
Turkey 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 Eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
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