Greek PM concerned as Turkey extends drill ship operations off Cyprus

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Turkey has extended a navigational telex (Navtex) reserving an area southwest of Cyprus for drilling activities until October 12.

The move was criticised on Wednesday by Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the European Commission.

In an interview with The Economist, Mitsotakis said he was concerned by Turkey’s move to extend the operation of its Yavuz energy drill ship in disputed Mediterranean waters.

“Turkey has a choice – engage with Europe in a constructive way or continue its unilateral actions and face consequences,” the Prime Minister said.

European Commission spokesman for external affairs, Peter Stano, added that the move “will fuel further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

“This decision comes at a moment when there is an opportunity to pursue immediate de-escalation, and resume dialogue and negotiations, which is the only path towards lasting solutions,” Mr Stano said.

He did welcome however, the withdrawal of the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis, describing it “an important step paving the way for a meaningful dialogue between Greece and Turkey.”

The EU also calls for a similar decision as concerns Cyprus, he added.

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