Turkey warned over Piri Reis

The Greek government is closely monitoring the movements of the Turkish oceanographic vessel Piri Reis following reports that it would be surveying 26 points in the Aegean – one of them in Greek waters – but Foreign Ministry officials said Turkey’s response to two representations indicated it did not wish to cause an incident. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said Greece would not permit any attempt by the ship to enter Greek waters. «We would never accept such a development and would prevent it,» said Beglitis, adding that the demarches sent to Turkey had been of a «strongly deterrent nature.» «However we must mention that in our relations with Turkey we have developed mechanisms that allow us to resolve problems at the outset and prevent negative developments that could potentially lead to a crisis,» he added. Asked yesterday whether the move was linked to Turkey’s strategy of creating tension in the Aegean, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis said: «We are monitoring the situation very closely and are in continuous contact with the Defense Ministry. We would like to believe that Turkey realizes that any moves which could raise any issue beyond just making an impression is not in anyone’s interest.» The Piri Reis belongs to Izmir University. It sailed last Friday into international waters off the Greek island of Chios and then to a Turkish port opposite the island of Rhodes, where it was still anchored late yesterday afternoon. One of the 26 points it was alleged planning to survey lies about halfway between Chios and Evia, about 5 nautical miles from the islet Kalogeri, in the area where most Turkish violations of Greek air space have taken place.

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