In a move that essentially serves to underline Turkish claims in the Eastern Mediterranean, Ankara has issued three navigational telexes (navtexes 1291/18, 1298/18 and 1299/18) reserving a sea area for naval exercises and seismic surveys by its research vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa.
The area stretches from the eastern edge of Greece’s continental shelf near the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo to blocks 4 and 5 in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), thus the navtexes appear designed to dispute Greece’s and Cyprus’s bordering EEZs.
Turkey’s increased activity in the Eastern Med has been accompanied by a barrage of press reports regarding steps to further militarize Cyprus’s Turkish-occupied north. Ankara is reportedly planning to establish a naval base in the area next year.
In a related development, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Tuesday that Turkey will not make the “slightest compromise” with regard to its energy plans around Cyprus, the Aegean or the East Med. Speaking to parliament during a 2019 budget debate, Oktay said Greece and Cyprus have been “spoiled” by the European Union, adding that Ankara will “by no means” tolerate any “measures against our country.”
“With our determination and our diplomatic efforts, we project our power and our energy policy,” he said.