In an announcement released on Tuesday, the US State Department accused Turkey of “unilaterally raising tensions” in the Mediterranean after Ankara sent its oil and gas drilling ship Oruc Reis once again into Greek territorial waters.
A Twitter message from the State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus urges Turkey to “end provocations and allow exploratory talks with Greece.”
In the statement, which clearly condemns Turkey’s most recent moves in the eastern Mediterranean, the State Department stressed that Turkey is “unilaterally increasing tensions in the region and deliberately complicates critical exploratory talks.”
The announcement went on to state that “Coercion, threats, intimidation and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The strong statement follows the news that Oruc Reis entered the seas atop Greek continental shelf early on Tuesday, about 35 nautical miles south of Kastellorizo.
The ship had set sail on Monday from the port of Antalya, while its global positioning system was turned off for several hours.
The State Department announcement in full is below:
“The United States deplores Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed Turkish exploration activity in areas where Greece is claiming jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s announcement unilaterally increases tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of critical exploratory talks between our NATO allies, Greece and Turkey.
“Coercion, threats, intimidation and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated challenge and start exploratory talks with Greece immediately. “Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce lasting solutions.”
The U.S. deplores Turkey's announcement of renewed Turkish survey activity in areas where Greece also asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. We strongly urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and allow exploratory talks with Greece. https://t.co/Oc8zyJssj6
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) October 13, 2020