Greece and Cyprus issued a counter-Navtex on Wednesday in answer to Turkey’s issuance of a similar alert for an area which lays within Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is set to last until August 2.
The Navigation Telex by Greece and Cyprus covers the same area and dates as that issued by Turkey. A Navtex was issued by the Turkish Navy for seismic survey work in an area apparently south of Turkey’s Antalya and lying between Cyprus and Crete.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department urged Turkey to halt any plans for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region.
A spokesperson issued a statement saying that the “United States is aware that Turkey has issued a NAVTEX for research in disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We urge Turkish authorities to to halt any plans for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region,” the statement reads.
Greece accused Turkey of attempting to encroach on its continental shelf.
“We call on Turkey to immediately cease these illegal actions which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the area,” the Greek foreign ministry ministry said in a statement.
Greece has filed a protest with the Turkish foreign ministry, and the United Nations, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, NATO and the European Union have all been informed.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said earlier on Tuesday that Turkey’s contravention of the territories of Greece and Cyprus could make sanctions by the European Union inevitable.
“As long as Turkey continues to take this path, sanctions on Turkey will be a one-way street,” he said.