Greek Fleet “Remains on Alert” Monitoring Turkish Moves in the Aegean

The Greek General Staff said on Wednesday that the situation remains unchanged in the Aegean and that the Hellenic fleet remains on alert, monitoring the movements of Turkish ships.

Military sources, cited by the semi-official Athens Macedonia News Agency (AMNA), did not confirm reports cited in German media that the Turkish navy which is assembled on the western coast of Turkey has disengaged.

Earlier, the German newspaper Bild, citing sources close to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had reported that Turkey decided to stand down after an intervention by Merkel who on Tuesday night spoke on the phone with Turkish leader Erdogan.

At least 18 Turkish navy vessels were reportedly ready to set sail to accompany the Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship to an area which is atop Greece’s continental shelf, south of Kastellorizo Island.

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned on Tuesday that Turkey is threatening to violate the sovereignty of Greece and Europe.

“Greece is following the developments with confidence and absolute readiness. The questioning of the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus constitutes a questioning of the sovereign rights of Europe. If Turkey continues in this direction, the imposition of sanctions by the EU will be a one-way street,” the Prime Minister said.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department urged Turkey to halt any plans for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region.

A spokesperson issued a statement saying that the “United States is aware that Turkey has issued a NAVTEX for research in disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We urge Turkish authorities to to halt any plans for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region,” the statement reads.