The United States on Tuesday, October 13 accused Turkey of indulging in “calculated provocation” after the latter sent back its research ship to disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean. As per reports, after withdrawing the Oruc Reis research ship from water claimed by Greece, Ankara authorities sent it back on October 12. The move has attracted flak from the international community including Washington which has asked Ankara to withdraw the ship.
As per Al Jazeera, the ship conducted a seismic survey south of the Greek island Kastellorizo, prompting anger from Greece, France and Germany. Meanwhile, the US condemned the decision saying that it unilaterally raised regional tensions. "In the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between our NATO Allies Greece and Turkey," US said in a statement.
"Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece. Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce enduring solutions," the statement read.
Tensions between Greece and Turkey flared earlier this year after Turkey sent the Oruc Reis research ship in search of potential oil and gas reserves into an area claimed by Greece. It also led to a military build-up in the eastern Mediterranean region with both the nations dispatching warships to the area. However, NATO, which has cordial relations with both, intervened and organised talks between the two countries in a bid to prevent a potential armed conflict.
Greece and Turkey have faced off against each other in recent weeks as Turkish survey vessels and drillships continue to sail in waters where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic rights. Greek and Turkish armed forces have been conducting military exercises in the area in a show of muscle-flexing to underscore each side’s resolve.
Greece and Cyprus (both European Union members) accused Turkey of violating international law and of “gunboat diplomacy.” Meanwhile, Turkey insists it’s defending its rights and those of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots on ethnically split Cyprus to their rightful share of the area’s potential gas deposits.
In recent developments, Greece has called upon the European Union to "show its teeth" and impose tough economic sanctions against Turkey if the country refuses to remove its military vessels and drillships from waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
Image Credits: AP