Member states of the European Union (EU) have agreed to prepare counter measures in response to Turkey’s naval activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Following an urgent meeting convened by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the 27 member states on Friday agreed that the recent naval mobilisations by Turkey would “lead to greater antagonism and distrust”, reports Xinhua news agency.
The members reiterated strong support for Borrell to re-establish dialogue and facilitate re-engagement with Turkey.
Borrell will also prepare “options on further appropriate measures in case tensions do not abate”, according to the Council of the EU.
Stressing that serious deterioration in the relationship with Turkey is having far-reaching strategic consequences for the entire EU, the member states said a broader discussion about relations with Ankara will be held later in August.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country resumed drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, one day after Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries and setting up an exclusive economic zone between them in the Mediterranean Sea.
Further escalating the tensions, Turkey on Monday sent its seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis, escorted by Turkish warships, to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey said that the Oruc Reis, which has lowered 1,750 km of seismic cables into the Mediterranean Sea for a two-dimensional seismic survey, would be operating in the Mediterranean Sea until August 23.
Greece, which also deployed warships to monitor the vessel, has called on Turkey to withdraw vessels from the area.
The discovery of rich gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean in the last decade has triggered a race to tap the region’s underwater resources and sparked tensions between Ankara and Athens.