Greece and Egypt Reject Turkish Provocation, to Continue Border Talks

Greece and Egypt accuse Turkey of "provocations" after Ankara sent its vessel Oruc Reis to conduct seismic survey.

Greece and Egypt will continue negotiations to complete the demarcation of their maritime borders, following an earlier deal setting up an exclusive economic zone between them in the Mediterranean Sea, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said.

Dendias made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry after their meeting in Athens on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The two countries signed on August 6 — and ratified later — the deal after holding talks in good faith, solving an issue that had been pending for more than 15 years, Dendias noted.

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"It is a model of application of the international law, a model of application of the law of the sea, a model of respect for the principle of good neighbourliness between states, an agreement that contributes to the stability and exploitation of the resources of the Eastern Mediterranean," said the Greek minister, national broadcaster ERT reported.

Greece and Egypt are among countries accusing Turkey of "provocations" also because of the research conducted by Turkish seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis in recent weeks.

"We have rejected all provocative actions that destabilize the region and escalate tensions, which are not in the interests of either side. Together we strive for the Eastern Mediterranean to become a region of cooperation, of brotherhood, of peace and to contribute to the prosperity of the region," Shoukry said.

After Oruc Reis returned to Turkey last weekend after weeks of research in a disputed area, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country expects more positive steps and an end to "provocations" to restart dialogue with Turkey over the delimitation of maritime borders.

The Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Ministry confirmed on Monday that Oruc Reis has so far collected a total of 3,525 km seismic data in the Mediterranean Sea. The ministry noted that Turkey has been continuing exploration and drilling activities in the Mediterranean in line with international law.

Turkey has been opposing the drilling efforts of several countries, including Greece, without its involvement, claiming that it has the same rights in the waters.

In August, Turkey dispatched Oruc Reis and two auxiliary navy vessels to the disputed region near the Greek island of Meis, also known as Kastellorizo, prompting the Greek claims that the sea area lies within its continental shelf.