Turkish warships are protecting Turkey’s Oruc Reis seismic research vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean, the country’s National Defense Ministry announced Monday.  

“Accompaniment and protection is provided for Turkey’s MTA ORUC REIS seismic vessel which conducts seismic research activity in Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“The Turkish Armed Forces have taken all necessary measures within the framework of their determination to protect our rights and interests arising from international law in our maritime jurisdiction areas.”

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 Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.

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