Turkey issued a NAVTEX on Tuesday, blocking the sea area southeast of the Greek island of Kastellorizo to carry out seismic surveys until 2 August.

The Greek Embassy in Ankara has filed a protest demarche with the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Greek statement on NAVTEX

The Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement declaring the NAVTEX illegal. “Today’s announcement of Turkish surveys in a section of the Greek continental shelf through a new illegal NAVTEX constitutes an escalation of tension in our region,” the ministry said.

In its statement, the Ministry “highlights Turkey’s persistence in violating international legality and its complete contempt for International Law, the International Law of the Sea, the rules governing good neighbourly relations and the urging of the European Union.

“We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region. The only path to stability in the region is respect for international legality.”

According to the statement, Greek authorities have already raised their concern with the European Union, NATO and the United Nations, as well as with capitals of permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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US State Department reproaches Turkey

The US State Department has called on Turkey to cease its provocative actions in the eastern Mediterranean.

A spokesman told Greek reporters on Tuesday that the US is aware of the NAVTEX for research in “disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkish authorities to halt any plans for operations and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region.”

Greek meeting with German Foreign Minister

Speaking with German Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Turkey “adds yet another link on its chain of aggressive actions against Greece, Cyprus and the entire European Union.”

The Greek Prime Minister told Mr Maas that if Turkey’s provocative actions continue, then “imposing EU sanctions will be the only response,” as it is “up to Turkey to choose what relationship it wants to have with Greece, Cyprus, and with Europe.”

After congratulating Mitsotakis for contributing to a fruitful agreement at the EU Summit, in line, as he said, with Chancellor Merkel’s comment on Greece’s “constructive role” during the pandemic crisis, the German minister expressed his agreement on the matter of Turkey’s aggressive behaviour, a position he noted was reflected in the conclusions of the recent EU Council of Foreign Ministers.

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“We have a clear stance of solidarity with Greece and Cyprus,” said Mr Maas and he underlined that it is up to Turkey to “end its provocative attitude towards Greece and enter into dialogue.”