Greece refuses to talk to Turkey while a Turkish research vessel operates in disputed waters. So said a Greek government spokesman after the Turkish vessel Oruc Reis was returned to the eastern Mediterranean.
NATO member states Greece and Turkey have been arguing for some time about the search for mineral resources beneath the seabed. Both countries claim to have the right to search for raw materials in the same parts of the Mediterranean.
Turkey withdrew the research vessel, Oruc Reis, last month so that work could be done on a diplomatic solution.
The foreign ministers of the two countries sat around the table last week. They then agreed that further consultation would take place and that steps would be taken to improve mutual trust.
However, the Turkish authorities announced on Monday that the Oruc Reis is sailing again to investigate near the Greek island of Kastelorizo, which is close to the Turkish coast.
The Greeks reacted furiously. Athens spoke of a “major escalation” and “an immediate threat to peace in the region”.
Germany, which is currently the EU president, called on Turkey on Tuesday to end the “cycle of detente and provocation”.