Greek and Turkish relations deteriorated again following the departure on Monday of Turkish ship, Oruc Reis, to conduct work south of the island of Kastellorizo, near Turkey’s southern coast.
The new NAVTEX issued by Turkey is valid through to 22 October, and the Oruc Reis will be accompanied by vessels Ataman and Genghis Khan.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke with European Council President Charles Michel to brief him about Turkey’s search for hydrocarbon within Greece’s territorial waters. He told Mr Michel that he will raise the latest unilateral action during the European Council of 15-16 October, noting the seriousness of Turkey’s actions.
The Greek foreign ministry issued a statement criticising Turkey’s latest action as a “direct threat to peace in the region”.
“The new Turkish Navtex on surveys south of Kastellorizo within the Greek continental shelf, at a distance of just 6.5 nautical miles from Greek shores, is a major escalation,” the foreign ministry said.
The move came after Ankara stated commitment to proposing a date for exploratory talks, showing that Turkey is “unreliable” and “does not really truly want a dialogue,” it said pointing to Ankara’s decisions to withdraw the same vessel last month in order to “allow for diplomacy”.
Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said this latest provocation showed that Turkey “lacks credibility”.
“All those who believed Turkey meant all it said before the European summit of 1-2 October now stand corrected,” he said.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez tweeted that the Oruc Reis had weighed anchor after undergoing maintenance, and that Turkey would continue to explore, dig and protect its rights.
Turkey also issued a NAVTEX for seismic research vessel Barbaros to the western coast of Cyprus on Friday. The NAVTEX ends on 9 November and will cover areas off the coast of Cyprus.