This alert follows recent Turkish gas exploration activities in the Aegean Sea.
The Greek Navy has put itself on alert and in “reinforced preparations” following recent Turkish gas exploration activities in the Aegean Sea, a source from this military body said on Wednesday.
“Navy units have been deployed since yesterday (Tuesday) in the south and southeast of the Aegean Sea,” the source said. These units “are ready to respond to any activity,” added the officer.
The Navy also called on sailors to ignore a restriction on maritime navigation decreed by Turkey.
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mistotakis held separate meetings with leaders of Greek political parties on Thursday and Friday “on national issues,” according to his press office.
“An escalation of tension”
As part of its ongoing hydrocarbon exploration activities, Turkey has announced “publicly” the deployment of its Oruç Reis vessel in the eastern Mediterranean as of Tuesday, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry dated Wednesday.
Athens officially protested against these movements close to the Greek island of Kastellorizo. “The announcement of Turkish explorations in a section of the Greek continental shelf (…) constitutes an escalation of tension in our region,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. “We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region,” the Greek ministry added.
However, Ankara affirms that the maritime zone where the explorations will be conducted is “entirely on the Turkish continental shelf as declared to the United Nations”, according to Hami Aksoy, spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The latter disputes that the only Greek island of Kastellorizo, “10 km2 wide, only 2 km from Anatolia (in Turkey) and 580 km from the Greek mainland, can generate a continental shelf of 40,000 km2”, according to a press release. .
Neighboring countries both members of NATO, Greece and Turkey have historically strained relations.
Athens denounces the controversial Turkish-Libyan agreement, signed last year, on the sharing of maritime spaces between Ankara and the government in Tripoli.
Athens believes that this agreement aims to increase the influence of Turkey in the Mediterranean where this country has recently carried out exploratory drilling near Cyprus, sparking protests from neighboring countries, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.
The EU has also denounced these “illegal drilling” and threatened Ankara with sanctions.