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Turkey Extends Geological Exploration Mission in Eastern Mediterranean Until 4 November

Sputnik News

08:37 GMT 25.10.2020(updated 08:54 GMT 25.10.2020)

ANKARA (Sputnik) - The Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis will conduct geological explorations of hydrocarbon deposits in disputed areas of the Eastern Mediterranean until 4 November, the Office of Navigation, Hydrography, and Oceanography of the Turkish Naval Forces said on Sunday.

Turkey has issued a new international Navtex alert, according to which the vessel Oruc Reis will conduct research with the Ataman and Cengizhan ships south of the Greek island of Kastelorizo.

The territorial waters of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea are defined at six nautical miles. Ankara said the vessel operates exclusively on the Turkish continental shelf 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) off the coast of Turkey and 425 kilometres (264 miles) off the coast of Greece.

On 11 October, Turkey announced that the Oruc Reis would conduct research with the Ataman and Cengizhan vessels south of Kastelorizo from 12 to 22 October. The mission was later extended until 27 October. The Greek Foreign Ministry said that the area belongs to the Greek continental shelf and is located just 6.5 nautical miles from the coast of Kastelorizo.

Relations between Athens and Ankara deteriorated earlier this year when Turkey began drilling for gas in areas that Greece and Cyprus claim as parts of their exclusive economic zones. The Turkish ops were condemned by Greece and the EU, with Brussels threatening Turkey with sanctions, but Ankara refused to stop drilling.

© Sputnik

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