Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides on Monday spoke at length with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias after Turkey renewed a Navtex for exploration in the region until August 27.
“It is definitely not a positive development. And it is a development that, if you will, shows intentions,” Christodoulides said in statements at his ministry following a meeting with socialist Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos.
He said he spoke at length with Dendias about the development, and also referenced the fact that the German foreign minister would be in Greece on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Turkey said its Oruc Reis exploration vessel will now carry out seismic surveys in a disputed part of the eastern Mediterranean until August 27.
Earlier this month, Turkey said the Oruc Reis would conduct seismic exploration until August 23 in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. Athens has called the survey illegal.
On top of that, the informal council of EU foreign ministers will be convened on Thursday and one of the main topics of discussion will be Euro-Turkish relations and how Turkey’s behaviour affects this.
“Yesterday’s renewal of the Navtex by Turkey is [a step] in the wrong direction,” said Christodoulides.
“What is needed, and it is the direction in which we are working, is to de-escalate and in order for there to be a de-escalation, the illegal Turkish actions must end,” he added.
Christodoulides said that last week he had informed all his EU counterparts in writing of a very specific argument being developed by Turkey.
It was in this context, he said, “that we considered it important that our positions be recorded, our legal and political arguments, and that we reiterate our readiness, which is also a common position of the EU, to discuss with Turkey our maritime borders.”
The minister said the informal council does not make decisions, but a discussion will be held on the future of relations between the EU and Turkey.
From then on there is the summit of the seven Mediterranean EU member states that will be held in Corsica on September 10 and the European Council that will exclusively discuss developments in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Decisions are expected there, (and) as the council president himself has said, all options are on the table,” Christodoulides said.