Ankara accuses Greece of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that its maritime claims violate Turkey’s sovereign rights.

Turkey's MTA Oruc Reis seismic vessel, which is escorted by the Turkish navy, is seen on the offshores of the Eastern Mediterranean on August 10, 2020.
Turkey's MTA Oruc Reis seismic vessel, which is escorted by the Turkish navy, is seen on the offshores of the Eastern Mediterranean on August 10, 2020. (AA)

Turkey is always ready to resolve the Eastern Mediterranean issue through dialogue on an equitable basis, the Turkish president has said.

“We are always here and ready to resolve conflicts through dialogue on equitable basis,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, following the Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara on Monday.

Erdogan also called on Mediterranean countries to cooperate in finding “an acceptable formula that protects the rights of all.”

“In no way would Turkey consent to any initiative trying to lock the country to its shores, ignoring the vast Turkish territory,” Erdogan said.

“Turkey will continue to implement its own plans in the field and diplomacy until a common sense prevails on the issue [of Eastern Mediterranean],” he added.

Turkey-Greece tensions

Last month, following Athens' objection to Ankara's seismic survey in an area south of the island of Meis, or Kastellorizo German diplomatic efforts helped defuse tension between Turkey and Greece.

But Greece’s controversial move last week to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt — which Turkey says violates its continental shelf and maritime rights — has further sparked tension between the two neighbours.

READ MORE: Turkey slams Greek-Egyptian maritime deal as 'worthless' 

Turkey also announced on Monday that its seismic vessel Oruc Reis will conduct research in the region until August 23.

READ MORE: Turkey issues NAVTEX for new seismic survey in eastern Mediterranean 

Ankara accuses Greece of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean and underlines that its maritime claims violate Turkey’s sovereign rights.

Turkey has long contested the Greek Cypriot Administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.

Turkey releases map of offshore survey

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has released a map showing the offshore survey activity of its seismic research vessel Oruc Reis within the country's continental shelf and borders of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean.  

"The Oruc Reis launched its offshore survey activity today in the Turkish Continental Shelf declared to the UN. Greece makes a big fuss over this activity," said Cagatay Erciyes, a senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official late on Monday.

He also stressed that Athens' maximalist approach in Aegean and in the Mediterranean is not "compatible with international law and against the principle of equity,"

"Yet Greece asks the EU and US to support this claim and put pressure on Turkey to cease its legitimate offshore activities.

"It is Greece, not Turkey who creates tensions in the area due to such maximalist claims," Erciyes said.

Fighting the pandemic

Erdogan said Turkey ranks 73rd in the number of Covid-19 cases per million people and 57th in the death rate per million people.

"When this period [pandemic] ends, Turkey will be among the least damaged countries globally,” he added.

“Turkey will write a new success story using its geographical location, logistics network connections, manufacturing capacity, human resources, knowledge, and skills within the new world order that will form after the pandemic.”

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 732,400 lives in 188 countries and regions since it originated in China last December.

The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries in the world.

Source: AA