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Greek military ‘warning Turkey not to allow seismic research vessel’s cables to touch Greece’s continental shelf’

Disputes over the Aegean have strongly affected Greece-Turkey relations for five decades.
Disputes over the Aegean have strongly affected Greece-Turkey relations for five decades.

Greek daily Kathimerini has reported military sources in Greece as saying that if cables of the Turkish Oruc Reis seismic research vessel come into contact with the Greek continental shelf, Turkey will have the “complete and exclusive” responsibility for what will follow.

The report followed a Turkish Navtex naval advisory announcement issued last week that Athens claimed reserved areas within the Greek continental shelf area for seismic surveys by the Oruc Reis as part of Turkey’s search for gas and oil.

The same sources were quoted by the newspaper as saying that Greece’s armed forces have entered a state of increased readiness in response to Ankara’s decision to dispatch two-thirds of the Turkish naval fleet to the Aegean Sea.

Only a few weeks ago, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to keep channels of communication open on matters of dispute. Spokesman for the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, said “Greece’s reaction was excessive” in response to the Navtex.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lately been engaging in telephone diplomacy with Mitsotakis and Erdogan in an attempt at heading of the danger of Greece and Turkey’s relations plummeting to a point where military conflict might seem a real possibility, but French President Emmanuel Macron has taken an aggressive line towards Turkey, reiterating his full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus over the hydrocarbon resources controversy and calling on the EU to impose sanctions on Ankara for territorial infringements.