Greece criticizes Turkey over new seismic survey in East Med

The Greek government on Monday criticized Turkey over the issuance of a new navigational warning (Navtex) for a seismic survey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Turkey’s new illegal Navtex for illegal surveys south of Kastelorizo on Greece’s continental shelf, just 6.5 nautical miles from Greek shores, constitutes a major escalation and direct threat to peace and security in the region,” said an e-mailed press statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry.

Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced on Monday that Turkish seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis sailed 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.

The two sides are at odds for years over maritime borders and energy resources exploitation rights.

The statement noted that the move came just a few days after the meeting between the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, during which the Turkish side committed to proposing a date for exploratory talks to de-escalate tension.

The Greek ministry called on the Turkish government to “immediately reverse its decision,” according to the statement.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also held a phone conversation with European Council President Charles Michel, according to an e-mailed press release from his office.

The prime minister informed Michel that he would raise “the latest unilateral action which constitutes a severe escalation on Turkey’s side” during the upcoming European Council on Oct. 15-16.

In addition, the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service (HNHS) in Herakleion on Crete island on Monday issued a counter-Navtex, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.