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Greece says no talks with Turkey as long as survey ship in area

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Greece will not engage in exploratory talks with Turkey as long as Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis remains in its continental shelf waters, the government’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

“As long as the Oruc Reis is in the area we will not hold exploratory contacts with Turkey,” Stelios Petsas told Skai Radio.

READ MORE: Turkey issues new Navtex in Eastern Mediterranean for Oruc Reis vessel

On Monday, Greece said Ankara’s decision to send the vessel close to Kastellorizo, a Greek island near the Turkish coast, was a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region”.

Turkey had withdrawn the vessel from contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean last month to “allow diplomacy” before an EU summit at which sanctions against Turkey were discussed.

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, Turkey’s research vessel, Oruc Reis, center, is surrounded by Turkish navy vessels as it was heading in the west of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey. Photo: IHA via AP.

At the time, Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, played down the significance of the move, saying the ship had returned to shore as part of scheduled plans and insisted it did not mean Ankara was “giving up our rights there.”

“There will be planned movements backwards and forwards,” Akar told state news agency Anadolu in Antalya, southern Turkey, in September.

At the summit, the EU said that if Turkey continued operations in the region, sanctions could be imposed as soon as December.

Sourced By: Reuters

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