No exploratory contacts between Greece, Turkey while research vessel remains within Greek continental shelf: FM

There can be no exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey while the Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis remains within the Greek continental shelf, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday.

“Instead of dialogue, instead of exploratory contacts they (Turkey) had proposed, they again chose escalation and direct threat against peace and security in the region,” Dendias said, referring to the issuance of a new navigational warning for seismic survey in the Eastern Mediterranean until Oct. 22 by Turkey earlier this week.

“Certainly, exploratory contacts cannot take place as long as the vessel Oruc Reis is conducting seismic surveys inside the Greek continental shelf,” Dendias said during joint statements to the press with his visiting Canadian counterpart, Francois-Philippe Champagne.

On Monday, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced that Oruc Reis sailed to the Eastern Mediterranean 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.

On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that before Ankara’s announcement, the two sides had agreed, under German mediation, to restart exploratory contacts from where they stopped in 2016 to reach an agreement on the delimitation of maritime zones.