Turkey has not retreated from its Eastern Mediterranean mission. Its seismic survey vessel ‘Oruç Reis’ is currently anchored off the coast of Antalya for routine maintenance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday.
Çavuşoğlu said Turkey’s drillships ‘Yavuz’ and ‘Fatih’ continue to carry out their mission in the area while ‘Oruç Reis’ undergoes maintenance.
The Turkish Foreign Minister also said Turkey does not expect the European Union to impose sanctions on it over the Eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece, but he pointed out that the bloc would choose to support Greece and Greek Cypriot side rather than Turkey on the issue.
Çavuşoğlu also criticised Greece for its position, as he urged Athens to change its stance.
On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that his country was “reinforcing its armed forces” and would purchase 18 French Rafale fighter jets, four frigates and four navy helicopters. He said the Greek military would increase troop numbers by 15,000 over the next five years.
Greece and Turkey are both Nato members, but have a history of border disputes and competing claims over maritime rights.
The Turkish Foreign Minister said:
“Greece needs to back down from its maximalist position in the Eastern Mediterranean while Greek Cypriots need to recognize the Turkish side’s rights.” he added that tensions will not ease if Greece continues its insistence on the “Seville map.”
Greece’s claims are based on the so-called Seville map, which was commissioned by the EU in the early 2000s and allotts maximum maritime boundaries to every Greek island in the region, no matter how close to Turkey’s borders.