Turkey reiterated its call Saturday for dialogue with Greece regarding its seismic research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Greece issued another statement “reiterating the known claims and objections of Oruc Reis [seismic research vessel] regarding the seismic research activity carried out on the Turkish continental shelf.”
“These allegations and objections were answered with six statements made by our Ministry since last July,” the ministry said. “Turkey will continue to resolutely protect its rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.”
“Greece should respond positively to our call for dialogue, rather than issuing a statement on [Turkey’s] every Navtex issue,” it said.
A Navtex is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area as well as other information.
The Oruc Reis will conduct seismic studies in the Eastern Mediterranean together with two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han.
It will conduct various geological, geophysical, hydrographic and oceanographic surveys, especially on the continental shelf, while also searching for natural resources.
In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey's goodwill gesture in halting explorations.
Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal "null and void," Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey's continental shelf.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean.
Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur