The US described Turkey’s survey activity in the Eastern Mediterranean as a “provocation” and urged Ankara on Tuesday to stop searching and begin immediate exploratory talks with Greece.
“The United States deplores Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed Turkish survey activity in areas over which Greece asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, referring to activities of Turkish seismic vessel, Oruc Reis.
Ortagus claimed that Turkey’s announcement “unilaterally raises tensions” in the region and “deliberately complicates” the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
“Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece,” she said. “Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce enduring solutions.”
Renewed efforts of the Oruc Reis in the Eastern Mediterranean will be within the Turkish continental shelf hundreds of kilometers away from the Greek mainland, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
It urged Greece to withdraw its maximalist demands, end military drills that escalate 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 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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