Turkey deploys research ship to East Med for energy exploration

Turkey deploys research ship to East Med for energy exploration

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the move would damage efforts to resolve the ongoing maritime dispute with Greece. Turkey, meanwhile, accused Athens of fuelling tensions.

Turkey's resumption of seismic surveys in an area of the Mediterranean that both Turkey and Greece say is within their own exclusive economic zones could fuel those tensions.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visits Nicosia and Athens on Tuesday for talks as developments in the Eastern Mediterranean point to an escalation of tension.

Earlier this month, the European Union threatened to bring in sanctions on Turkey if it failed to do what the bloc said was illegal drilling and energy exploration activities in waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.

The two countries agreed to resume exploratory talks after the Oruc Reis was removed, but no date has yet been set for the negotiations - and frictions over the recent declaration of naval drills by each side in the Aegean Sea show growing animosity between them. Athens opposes any exploration activity in the area, which it believes enroaches on its continental shelf, but Ankara insists that foreign islands in such a close proximity to its shores can not have continental shelves and thus its drilling activities in the area are legal.

China joins WHO-led COVAX for fair access to Covid-19 vaccines
Meanwhile, the main hurdle for COVAX, according to Ding, was the wait for one of the first vaccines to be declared a success. Woods said: "Pfizer have said they are making good progress with the development of a Covid-19 vaccine ".

Germany has also urged Turkey to end "provocative acts" in the region and warned that the redeployment of the ship is a major setback to efforts to de-escalate tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Maas stressed that talks between the nations can only work in a "constructive atmosphere" and appealed "to Turkey not to close the window for dialogue that has just opened with Greece through unilateral measures".

Greece's foreign ministry said on Monday that Turkey was "unreliable" following its decision to send Oruc Reis back to the area close to Greek island of Kastellorizo after it initially returned to Turkish docks in September.

Late on Sunday, Turkey's navy issued an advisory, saying the Oruc Reis ship would conduct a seismic survey over the next 10 days.

Greece "will not sit at the table for exploratory talks while the Oruc Reis and escorting warships are out there", Minister of State George Gerapetritis told Parapolitika radio.

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