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Menendez: Only Turkey is disputing Greek territorial waters

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US Senator Robert Menendez criticized the US State Department for describing the waters in the sea region south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo as “disputed” in a comment about Turkey’s plans to conduct seismic survey in the area.

“Let’s be crystal clear—the only country ‘disputing’ these waters is Turkey. These waters belong to Greece, and the State Department must unequivocally and publicly recognize that Turkey alone is responsible for the tension over them,” the senator for the state of New Jersey said in a tweet on Wednesday.

The State Department urged Turkey on Tuesday to refrain from any drilling plans in the Eastern Mediterranean that will raise tensions in the region, after the advisory published by Turkey’s navy.

On the same day, Greece issued a counter-Navtex which said that an “unauthorized station” has broadcast a navtex message in the Greek Navtex service area “referring to unauthorized and illegal activity in an area that overlaps the Greek continental shelf.”

Menendez also participated in an event to mark the 46th Anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

“Turkey’s interference still impedes progress for peace. I have always believed that if not for Turkey’s meddling, the two communities could negotiate a durable peace and move towards a more prosperous future,” he said at the event organised by the American Hellenic Institute.

“Unfortunately, Turkey’s illegal occupation remains the source of instability on the island,” he added and referred to the “disgraceful behavior" in Varosha which he said “lays the groundwork for economic exploitation of the area.”

He also criticised Turkey’s efforts to change the demographics of Cyprus by sending Turkish citizens to settle in the north.