As of Saturday evening, there were signs of a gradual de-escalation in the Aegean, with military sources saying some Turkish Navy ships are returning to their base instead of moving towards Greece’s continental shelf.
Early in the week, Turkey had issued a NAVTEX saying that research vessel Oruc Reis will drill for hydrocarbons in the area southeast of Kastellorizo from July 24 until August 2, an area within Greece’s territorial waters.
Oruc Reis remains stationary off Antalya, while a tweet appeared on the account of the Turkish embassy in the U.S., announcing the start of seismic research in the Eastern Aegean.
A few hours later, the controversial tweet was taken down, while a new post appeared stating that Oruc Reis would start explorations on July 21.
According to the Marine Traffic website, however, research vessel Oruc Reis was anchored off the coast of Antalya at the time the Turkish embassy in Washington tweeted.
The Greek Navy is on alert until August 2, nevertheless, with Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos stated that Greek naval forces will remain in the area until the last Turkish ship leaves.
Turkish president continues with provocative statements
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey lays no territorial claims on other countries’ land, nor natural resources, “but we do not allow anyone to interfere with our interests and our rights.
Speaking during the inauguration of a road in Amasya, Erdogan said, “We know that in the last few days the cause of some noise in some countries is not the Hagia Sophia and the Eastern Mediterranean but in fact, it is the Turkish nation and the presence of Muslims in this region.”
The Turkish president further said that Turkey will reply to those who are against its rights “in the field of action.”