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Turkey extends gas exploration in Eastern Mediterranean

A Turkish Navy ship in Antalya, Turkey on 27 February 2019 [Mustafa Çiftçi/Anadolu Agency]
A Turkish Navy ship in Antalya, Turkey on 27 February 2019 [Mustafa Çiftçi/Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish navy yesterday announced that its gas exploration vessel will continue working until 12 September, Anadolu Agency reported.

Oruc Reis will continue working until 12 September in a move Greece called "illegal".

Greece and Turkey disagree over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean based on conflicting views on the extent of their continental shelves in waters dotted with mostly Greek islands.

Last week, Turkey announced that it would launch military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean on 1 and 2 September, as part of the latest round of military exercises that have fuelled tensions with Greece.

The European Union has said it is preparing sanctions against Turkey that could be discussed at the bloc's next summit on 24 September in response to Ankara's dispute with Greece, a top diplomat said on Friday.

READ: Turkey and Greece are 'playing with fire', Germany FM warns

The measures, meant to limit Turkey's ability to explore for natural gas in contested waters, could include individuals, ships, or the use of European ports, the High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell said. The EU would focus on everything related to "activities we consider illegal", he added.

On the other hand, last Saturday, Turkey slammed Greece for deploying troops to Meis (Kastellorizio) Island, just two kilometres from Turkish shores, in violation of 1947 agreements that pledge a demilitarised status to it amid ongoing tension between the two neighbours.

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