In what is seen as another move by Ankara to dispute the sovereignty of Athens and Nicosia, Turkey has announced it will send its Cesme research vessel to conduct surveys this week in an area stretching from south of Cyprus all the way up to the northern Aegean.
According to a navigational telex (navtex), the Cesme will carry out surveys in three areas within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and two within Greece’s continental shelf south of the island of Kastellorizo.
It will then proceed to survey three areas in the Aegean – southwest of Tilos, north of Icaria and west of Lesvos.
The Cesme began its course from the Mediterranean port city of Iskenderun on Thursday and is expected to complete its course via the Aegean to Istanbul on December 30.
The navtex is seen as a clear message to Athens and Nicosia with regard to Turkey’s intentions in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
It also comes on the heels of a series of incendiary comments by Turkish officials and overflights by Turkish fighter jets over Kastellorizo on Christmas Day.