A spokesman for the Greek government, Stelios Petsas, said yesterday that his country will not participate in exploratory talks with Turkey as long as the Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis remains in waters under dispute by the two countries.
“As long as the Oruc Reis is in the area we will not hold exploratory contacts with Turkey,” Petsas said in an interview with Skai Radio.
Last month, Turkey withdrew the ship from its disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean to “allow room for diplomacy” ahead of a European Union summit that discussed imposing sanctions on Turkey for sending survey ships into disputed areas with Greece and Cyprus which are members of the EU.
However, on Monday Ankara announced that it was sending the ship back to conduct more surveys.
Greece slammed Ankara’s decision and described it as a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region”.