Turkey has taken all measures to protect its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean arising from international law in its maritime jurisdiction areas, the country’s top defense official said Tuesday.
Addressing top Turkish commanders in a virtual conference, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said no dealings that excluded Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) could be implemented in the region and that Ankara would not allow any no fait accompli in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Akar reiterated that Turkish Navy warships accompanied and protected the offshore surveying activities of seismic research vessel Oruc Reis within the Turkey’s continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Last month, after Athens objected to Ankara’s seismic survey in an area south of the island of Meis, or Kastellorizo, German diplomatic efforts helped defuse tensions between Turkey and Greece.
But Greece’s controversial move last week to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt, which Turkey says violates its continental shelf and maritime rights, has further sparked tensions between the two neighbors.
Turkey also announced Monday that the Oruc Reis will conduct research in the region until Aug. 23.
Ankara accuses Greece of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that its maritime claims violate Turkey’s sovereign rights.
Turkey has long contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
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