Turkey Reignites Tensions With Greece by Sending Exploration Vessel South of Kastellorizo



Oruc Reis. Credit: AMNA

The Turkish Navy said on Sunday that the research ship Oruc Reis, at the center of an energy rights row with Greece, will be sent back to the sea area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Turkey withdrew the ship in September ahead of diplomatic attempts to resolve the dispute.

Now, Ankara has said that the ship will again spend 10 days conducting seismic research in the eastern Mediterranean, until Oct. 22.

The vessel will also be accompanied by two other ships, the Ataman and Cengiz Han.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday that the illegal explorations south of Kastellorizo on the Greek continental shelf, at a distance of only 6.5 nautical miles from the Greek coast, “is a major escalation and a direct threat to peace and security in the region.”

“Just a few days after the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, during which the Turkish side pledged to propose a date for exploratory contacts, its unreliability is demonstrated again as well as the fact that Turkey sincerely does not want dialogue,” Athens says.

“Turkey insists on the aggressive and illegal tactics of past centuries, clearly confirming its role as the pre-eminent factor of instability and delinquency in the region. From Libya to the Aegean and Cyprus, Syria, Iraq and now Nagorno-Karabakh,” the Greek ministry adds.

Earlier this month, the EU threatened to bring in sanctions on Turkey if it failed stop illegal drilling and energy exploration activities in Greek and Cypriot waters.

Turkey said the threat of sanctions was “unconstructive.”