Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated on Tuesday Greece’s dismay at Turkey’s stance amidst efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, during a meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Maas arrived here after talks with the Cypriot government a few hours earlier following the resumption of seismic surveys in the Eastern Mediterranean by a Turkish vessel.
“I think nobody can be satisfied with the recent developments especially in light of the conclusions of the European Council (meeting earlier this month). I think we offered Turkey a very clear choice at the recent European Council: renew partnership or face consequences should this aggressive behavior continue. Unfortunately, it seems for the moment Turkey has chosen the second path,” Mitsotakis said in a statement broadcast on Greek national broadcaster ERT.
“Let’s hope that we will get to a point where we will actually sit down and talk like reasonable people,” the Greek PM added, noting that he expects the issue to be discussed again at the next European Council meeting scheduled for Oct. 15-16.
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.
Mitsotakis stressed that before Ankara’s announcement, the two sides had agreed, under German mediation, to restart exploratory contacts from where they had stopped in 2016 to reach an agreement on the delimitation of maritime zones.
As long as the Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis is sailing in the East Med within the Greek exclusive economic zone (EEZ), there can be no dialogue, said the Greek leader.
Similar remarks were made on camera earlier on Tuesday by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias during a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Francois-Philippe Champagne.
Turkish vessel Oruc Reis had docked in Antalya a few weeks ago after carrying out similar surveys this summer in disputed waters in the region which fueled tensions with Greece and Cyprus, causing international concerns.
Athens and Nicosia are at odds with Ankara for years over maritime borders and the right to exploit energy resources.
Maas, on his part, said he chose to visit Greece and Cyprus to show Germany’s and EU’s support and solidarity with the two member states, according to an unofficial translation of his remarks provided by the Greek PM’s office.
The German official added that Turkey’s latest actions are against what had been agreed to try to de-escalate tensions through diplomacy in a climate of trust, according to the same press release.
However, Maas underlined that in his view the only way to reach results is through dialogue.