Greece on alert as Turkey sends survey ship to disputed waters
August 11, 2020 - Turkey has vowed to press ahead with searching for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, saying it plans to issue new exploration licenses for the area despite an escalating dispute with Greece over drilling rights.
The Greek government, meanwhile, was calling for an emergency meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council on the situation.
Tension remained high between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, both of which have warships shadowing a Turkish research vessel that was sent to carry out seismic research for energy resources in an area Greece says is on its continental shelf.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey planned to conduct search operations “on the western edges” of Turkey’s continental shelf. He said the work would be done on behalf of both Turkey and Turks in ethnically divided Cyprus, which also has objected to Ankara’s exploration activities.
The Turkish government announced on Monday that its research vessel Oruc Reis and two support vessels would be operating in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Greece until Aug. 23. The vessel arrived in the area Monday morning, escorted by Turkish warships.
Greece slammed the decision as an illegal act that infringed on its sovereign rights, saying the Turkish research vessel was inside an area covered by the Greek continental shelf. Greek warships were in the area and were monitoring the Oruc Reis, and the military was on alert, officials said.