‘An unwise move’: Berlin warns Ankara over fresh exploration activities in contested waters of East Mediterranean
The spokesman for the federal government, Steffen Seibert, was quoted by German media as saying Ankara’s decision to renew seismic surveys in the disputed area would set back efforts to establish talks between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, and “would certainly be anything but conducive to the further development of EU-Turkey relations.”
It would be an unwise move for Turkey to begin exploration in a disputed area again.
The comments follow Turkey’s announcement that maintenance was completed on research vessel Oruç Reis and it would restart exploration in the contested waters until October 22. Earlier this month, the EU said it would punish Turkey if it continued exploration activities in the contested waters.
The Oruç Reis has been a considerable source of rising diplomatic tensions between Greece and Turkey in 2020. Ankara withdrew the vessel in mid-September, ahead of an EU summit on eastern Mediterranean issues.
Progress appeared to be near as Greek and Turkish foreign ministers met last Thursday on the sidelines of a security conference in Slovakia. It was the first time the ministers had met since the crisis began and both sides looked in good spirits as they agreed on future “exploratory talks.”
Reacting to the move on Monday, the Greek Foreign Ministry described the development as a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region.”
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