Turkey Continues with Provocations in Aegean – Greek FM to Meet with US Secretary of State

Turkish vessel the Oruc Reis is escorted into Greek waters by five Turkish Navy vessels on Monday, August 10. Photo: Turkish Defense Ministry

While the Turkish seismic research ship Oruc Reis is moving northeast atop the Greek continental shelf, accompanied by Naval vessels from Turkey, Ankara continues to issue provocative statements.

The oil and gas exploration ship is staying within the limits of its illegally-issued NAVTEX; meanwhile the movements of all the Turkish ships are being closely monitored by Greek Navy vessels and other units of the Greek Armed Forces.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez wrote on Twitter: “Oruc Reis scans our seas. By August 23, a total of 1,750 kilometers of seismic cable will be submerged in the Mediterranean for 2D seismic research.”

According to Turkey’s official Anadolu News Agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that he would not accept Greece’s attempts to “imprison” Turkey on its shores, disputing Greece’s maritime territory around the islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo.

Erdogan further declared that Turkey “is a vast country and we will not consent to an attempt to imprison us on our shores over several square kilometers of islands.”

Greek FM to meet with US Secretary of State and attend EU emergency meeting

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will have an emergency meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vienna on Friday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two officials will discuss the tensions generated in the Eastern Mediterranean in light of Turkey’s most recent provocative acts.

Additionally, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union will convene by teleconference on Friday at Greece’s request.

Israel supports Greek rights in the Aegean

Israel is closely monitoring developments in the eastern Mediterranean, according to a statement issued by the Israeli Embassy in Greece on Wednesday.

“Israel is closely following as tension rises in the East Mediterranean. Israel expresses its full support and solidarity with Greece in its maritime zones and its right to delimit its EEZ,” the announcement stated.