ISTANBUL 

Turkey’s energy exploration vessel Oruc Reis will return to the mission in the Eastern Mediterranean after maintenance work is over, the nation’s president said on Friday.

“If we returned Oruc Reis to the port for maintenance, it also means something,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

This weekend, Turkey returned the Oruc Reis, a research ship exploring energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, to an Antalya port for restocking and maintenance work.

Greece, Southern Cyprus, and other EU members have tried to block Turkey’s energy exploration, claiming it is searching in Greek waters, using a maximalist view of Athens’ maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – says this view is illegal and makes no sense, and has urged negotiations with no preconditions to lay out fair sharing of the region’s resources.

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