US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was “deeply concerned” over Turkey’s gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean amid growing tensions between Ankara, Cyprus and Greece.
“We remain deeply concerned by Turkey’s ongoing operations surveying for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades here on Saturday.
Anastasiades, for his part, voiced readiness to enter negotiations for a comprehensive solution of the disputes, urging Ankara to end “aggressive actions”, reports Xinhua news agency.
Turkey and the two European Union members are engaged in a war of words over oil and gas reserves and maritime rights in the disputed region, prompting fears that tensions will continue to rise.
Turkey earlier dispatched its seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis, escorted by Turkish warships, to the region after Greece and Egypt signed a maritime border agreement.
Seven Mediterranean states on Thursday urged Turkey to resolve territorial disputes with Greece and Cyprus through negotiation, warning of “further restrictive measures” if Turkey does not halt its “unilateral activities.”
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the EU countries should abandon a policy of “blindly” taking the side of Greece and Cyprus, and called on Greece to enter unconditional and direct talks to settle down disputes.