Foreign Minister of Germany, Heiko Maas on Tuesday, 13th October 2020 has warned Turkey against provocating them in a gas exploration dispute. The dispute is in the controversial sea areas in the eastern Mediterranean.
Maas said that Ankara must end the provocation if the government is interested in talking out the matter. Mass said this in Berlin before embarking on a trip to Cyprus and Greece. He said that they are requesting Turkey to not close the window for talks. This window has opened up recently with Greece through unilateral measures.
Germany’s top envoy has said that the renewed Turkish gas explorations will be a severe setback for efforts to de-escalate. And this will also stop the further development of EU-Turkey relations.
He has requested Ankara to remain open to talks and to not resume exploration of gas reserves in the contested waters. He also added that Germany stood in full support with Cyprus and Greece as EU partners in the stand-off with Turkey.
Maas said that his decision to travel only to Nicosia and Athens today is because of the current developments. He added that ultimately it is up to Turkey to create the conditions for talks.
Turkey’s Seismic Gas Explorations In The Contested Sea Areas In The Eastern Mediterranean
The naval authorities of Turkey have announced on Sunday, 11th October 2020 that their vessel Oruc Reis will be resuming gas exploration south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo on Monday, 12th October 2020. The vessel will stay there for 10 days.
Athens has accused Ankara of systematically undermining peace and security in the region while condemning this move.
The Foreign Ministry in Athens has said they are confronting Turkey to immediately reverse this decision. They added that Turkey should immediately cease its illegal actions.
Greece has said that the return of the Oruc Reis vessel shows the unreliability and unwillingness of Turkey to negotiate. Greece’s claim is slammed by the Foreign Mistry of Turkey for being groundless and incompatible with international law.
Turkey and Greece who are both NATO members have disputes over natural gas reserves and maritime boundaries for a long time. Both countries claim the right to drill the same areas of the eastern Mediterranean.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert addresses the media in Berlin saying that if they were really explorations in the disputed area of the sea, it will be a regrettable step and also an unwise one. Seibert further said that it will set back efforts to reduce tensions in the development of EU-Turkish relations.