Athens calls on Ankara to stop exploratory drilling south of Kastellorizo

Athens calls on Ankara to stop exploratory drilling south of Kastellorizo

Greece on Monday urged Turkey to end its “illegal actions” south of the Aegean island of Kastellorizo, describing operations as a “new serious escalation” that exposes Turkey’s “destabilizing and peace-threatening role.”

The Foreign Ministry statement came after Turkey’s navy issued on Monday a navigational tele, or Navtex, saying that the Turkish ship Oruc Reis will carry out a seismic survey in an area south of Kastellorizo over the next two weeks.

“Greece will not accept any blackmail. It will defend its sovereign rights,” the statement said, adding that the new Navtex shows that Ankara’s declared readiness to resume talks was “a pretext.”

Athens issued a counter-Navtex calling Turkey’s maritime advisory as illegal.

Meanwhile, Greek Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said the Oruc Reis was not transmitting through the automatic identification system carried by ships, but was being monitored by the Greek Navy.

“We are at full political and operational readiness,” Gerapetritis said on state television ERT.

“The majority of the fleet is ready at this moment to go out wherever is needed,” he said when asked to elaborate. “Our ships that are sailing in crucial areas were already in place days ago. If necessary there will be a greater development of the fleet.”

Gerapetritis said that “it is clear that we are not seeking any tension in the region. On the other hand our determination is a given.” [Kathimerini, AP]

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