US calls on Turkey to ‘end calculated provocation’ against Greece

US calls on Turkey to ‘end calculated provocation’ against Greece

In a strongly-worded statement about the renewed tensions in the eastern Mediterranean after Ankara resumed exploratory activities in the region, the US State Department said it “deplored” Turkey’s decision, saying it “unilaterally raises tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks” between the two NATO allies.

“Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in the statement.

“Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce enduring solutions,” she added.

Turkey had withdrawn the vessel from the eastern Mediterranean last month to "allow diplomacy" with Greece ahead of an EU summit at which sanctions against Turkey were discussed.

But Ankara announced it was sending again its vessel Oruc Reis in a region near the island of Kastellorizo. The ship entered the Greek continental shelf early on Tuesday, according to state-run news agency ANA-MPA.

On Monday, Greece said Ankara's decision to send the vessel close to Kastellorizo, a Greek island near the Turkish coast, was a "major escalation" and on Tuesday it announced that there would be no exploratory talks between the two sides until Oruc Reis leaves the area.

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