Washington slammed Ankara on Tuesday for its decision to dispatch once again a Turkish survey vessel into disputed waters with Greece.
“The United States deplores Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed Turkish survey activity in areas over which Greece asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
After withdrawing the vessel from contested waters to “allow diplomacy” before an EU summit in recent days, at which sanctions against Turkey were discussed, the ship was sent back near a Greek island on Monday.
At the EU summit, it was stated that sanctions could be imposed if Turkey continued operations in the region as soon as December.
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
Greece said the recent decision to send the Turkish vessel close to Kastellorizo, a Greek island near the Turkish coast, was a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region.”
Ortagus said that Turkey’s announcement “unilaterally raises tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between our NATO Allies Greece and Turkey.”
She added: “Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece.”
In the US diatribe, Ortagus said that “unilateral actions” would not build trust and not produce enduring solutions.
- With Reuters