The United States has demanded that Turkey pull back an energy research ship that it has sent back to waters contested with Greece, calling the move a “calculated provocation.”
In a strongly worded statement, the State Department said the US “deplores” the decision by Turkey that came just after tensions with Greece had subsided, reports Arab News.
“We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“Turkey’s announcement unilaterally raises tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between our NATO allies Greece and Turkey,” she said.
Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez on Monday announced the return to its seismic survey vessel, the Oruc Reis, to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to resume its activities.
Donmez said on his Twitter account that the vessel raised the anchor to “take the X-ray of the Mediterranean” following the completion of its maintenance works, reports Xinhua news agency.
Last month, Turkey withdrew Oruc Reis from its activity area to a port in Antalya province for its monthly maintenance and supplies.
European Union countries have been trying to mediate between Turkey and Greece over their conflicting demands.
Turkey says that Greece’s maritime territory claims in the region, based on small islands near the Turkish coast, are in defiance of the international law.
Greece and Turkey are both NATO members, but have a history of border disputes and competing claims over maritime rights.
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