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Turkey Extends Geological Exploration in Disputed East Med Area Until 29 November, Navy Says

Sputnik News

12:21 GMT 21.11.2020(updated 12:28 GMT 21.11.2020)

ANKARA (Sputnik) - The Oruc Reis, a Turkish research vessel will continue its seismic exploration in the disputed area of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, near the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo, until 29 November, the navy's Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography said on Saturday.

According to a new Navtex advisory, the Oruc Reis will conduct research along with the Ataman and the Cengizhan vessels. The current Navtex advisory expires on 23 November.

Turkey has been engaged in a long-standing maritime border dispute with Greece and Cyprus over the size of their exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The situation was exacerbated this summer, as Ankara sent its Oruc Reis ship, accompanied by a fleet of military vessels, to drill in waters close to Greece's Kastellorizo island, which lies just 2 kilometres from the south coast of Turkey. Greece believes that Ankara's move was illegal and in breach of the country's sovereignty, as the seismic surveys have been approaching on its continental shelf.

Turkish authorities, however, maintain that foreign islands located so close to its borders cannot have a continental shelf.

The European Union has condemned Ankara's drilling activities in the East Med, threatening the country with potential sanctions.

Athens and Nicosia have voiced their strong objection to the presence of Turkish exploration vessels in waters that both Greece and Cyprus claim to be part of their respective exclusive economic zones. The scramble for exclusive rights to the area is exacerbated by the presence of considerable gas deposits in the region.

© Sputnik

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