Turkey’s seismic research in east Med paused amid talks with Greece

Turkey on Tuesday decided to pause its planned research in the eastern Mediterranean as a goodwill gesture for the ongoing negotiations with Greece.

“Our president said that we will keep waiting as the negotiations with Greece continue,” Turkey’s presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Tuesday in a televised interview with CNNTurk.

Turkey issued a NAVTEX (Navigational Telex) last week as Ankara planned seismic research of potential hydrocarbon exploration within the eastern Mediterranean, according to Kalin.

Mentioning the ongoing talks with Greece mediated by Germany, the spokesperson noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a “constructive approach” to the issue and proposed confidence-building measures aiming to eliminate any possible tension in the Mediterranean between Ankara and Athens.

Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have escalated in recent days amid Greece’s concerns over Turkey’s decision to launch seismic research, for which Turkish warships were deployed to the area. Greece claimed that the Turkish NAVTEX covers a part of the Greek continental shelf.

Turkey and Greece already have a series of ongoing disagreements due to their respective continental shelves in the Aegean Sea, as well as the militarization of certain Aegean islands and Cyprus.