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August 12, 2020, 12.16 AM

ATHENS, KOMPAS.com - Tension between Greece and Turkey remained high on Tuesday after a conflict arose from a Turkish research vessel meant to carry out seismic research for energy resources.

Both countries have since sent warships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece slammed Turkey’s decision asserting that the Turkish research vessel was inside an area covered by the Greek continental shelf.

The EU member-state has also slammed Turkey’s decision calling it an illegal act that infringed on Greece’s sovereign rights.

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After a meeting between Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, the PM’s Office announced that the country will be requesting an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

Ankara announced on Monday that its research vessel Oruc Reis and two support vessels would be operating in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Greece until August 23.

The vessel arrived in the area Monday morning, escorted by Turkish warships.

Greek warships were in the area and were monitoring the Oruc Reis, and the military was on alert, officials said.

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NATO allies and neighbors Greece and Turkey have traditionally had testy relations and have been at odds for decades over a wide variety of issues.

The two have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once over drilling exploration rights.

Recent discoveries of natural gas and drilling plans across the east Mediterranean have led to renewed tension.

Ankara has been angered by a deal Greece signed with Egypt last Thursday delineating their bilateral maritime boundaries and exclusive economic zones for rights to the exploitation of resources.

Last year, Turkey signed a similar deal with the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli,

The Turkey-Libya agreement sparked outrage in Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, which said the agreement infringed on their economic rights in the Mediterranean.

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The European Union said the deal was a violation of international law that threatened regional stability.

At the heart of the issue is how a country’s continental shelf is calculated and whether islands should be included in the calculation.

Turkey argues they should not, a position that Greece says violates international law.

Mitsotakis spoke with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou Tuesday to inform her of the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, his office said.

The prime minister also intended to speak with the heads of the country’s political parties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking after a four-hour Cabinet meeting Monday night, warned that Turkey would not confine its offshore exploration to its immediate coastline, but otherwise appeared conciliatory.

“Let’s come together as Mediterranean countries. Let’s find a formula that’s acceptable for everyone, that protects everyone’s rights,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

He added: “We are always there and ready for the solution of disputes through dialogue and on a fair basis. We will continue to implement our own plans in the (eastern Mediterranean) and in the field of diplomacy until common sense prevails in this regard.” 

(Writer & Editor: Associated Press) 

Source: https://apnews.com/a3943f61c5891344139fa9a9bfbfd4b4 

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