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Turkey Threatens to Extend Gas Mission South of Crete; Counter-Navtex Issued

The Oruc Reis research ship accompanied by Turkish navy vessels sailing in the eastern Mediterranean. File photo

Turkey announced on Wednesday that its seismic exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean would continue and could extend south of Crete.
“Of course we can carry out exploration wherever we want and we do so. We will continue our work. The deal signed with Libya, the regions just south of Crete, are part of this,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said in an interview with CNN Turk.
Meanwhile, the Oruc Reis research vessel, which had been scheduled to end its work on Oct. 22, will now remain in the sea area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo until October 27, the Turkish Navy said in a NAVTEX maritime announcement.
Two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han, along with the Oruc Reis, will continue working in the area.
Oruc Reis’ initial deployment in August sparked a weeks-long diplomatic crisis until the ship returned to port last month.
However, last week it was sent out once again.
Earlier on Wednesday, Greece urged the EU to reconsider its customs union with Turkey in response to Ankara’s exploration in the Mediterranean, deploring what it termed Turkey’s “imperial fantasies.”
Counter-NAVTEX Issued by Greek Government
The Navy Hydrographic Service in Herakleion, Crete, accordingly issued a counter-NAVTEX on Thursday in response to Antalya’s illegal NAVTEX for its activities within the Greek continental shelf, between Rhodes and Kastellorizo.
Greece’s counter-NAVTEX underscores that the Turkish activity is unauthorised and illegal, in an area that overlaps the Greek continental shelf.
It also declares that the Herakleion Naval Station has the authority to broadcast NAVTEX messages in the area.

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