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Turkey: ‘Greece continues to escalate tension in Aegean Sea’

February 23, 2021 at 11:18 am

A naval ship of Turkish Armed Forces is seen as naval personnel give a salute from the deck on September 07, 2020. [Ali Ruhluel – Anadolu Agency]

Since the restart of exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece this year, Greece has continued to escalate tension in the region, Anadolu reported sources from Turkish National Defence Ministry saying yesterday.

According to the sources, Greece “has carried out many activities from exercises to submarine missions aimed at escalating tension in the Aegean, and continued its uncompromising attitude.”

Turkey’s TCG Cesme research vessel has started its scientific and technical survey regarding hydrography in the international waters of the northern Aegean.

Greece described in a statement the TCG’s action as “a move that does not facilitate the improvement of relations between the two countries.”

Commenting on the Greek statements, the Turkish sources reported by Anadolu said that the TCG Cesme research vessel will carry out scientific and technical research in northern Aegean until 2 March as part of its annual activity program.

The sources emphasised that the studies, that did not cover the seabed, were carried out in full compliance with the 1976 Bern Agreement.

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According to ministry sources, the HS Naftilos research ship of the Greek Navy carried out similar research in areas north and west of the island of Lesbos and north of Chios and Ahikerya (Icaria) islands, which also include international waters, between November-December 2020.

The sources also pointed out that Greece’s AEGAEO research vessel carried out underwater research in areas which also include the international waters between the island of Crete and the Peloponnese peninsula following the start of exploratory talks between Ankara and Athens on 25 January.

“Currently, Greece continues its underwater activities, which it started in areas north of Crete with a NAVTEX naval alert on Feb. 18, 2021, and it is not clear when it will end,” the sources added.

“Greece’s statements that we have carried out actions that escalate tension do not reflect the truth,” the sources said.

“During a period when exploratory talks are ongoing between our countries, these statements made by Greece clearly with the intention of publicly misleading the international community are followed with regret and astonishment.”

“These statements are a clear indication of Greece’s pro-tension and uncompromising attitude, which does not wish to resolve problems through negotiations and dialogue,” the sources added.