Turkey Ups the Ante of Provocations by Starting Drills in South-East Aegean By Tasos Kokkinidis -Jul 21, 2020

Turkish authorities announced on Tuesday that a drill ship is to conduct explorations in the sea area east and south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in south-eastern Aegean.

Ankara, which disputes that the island has a continental shelf and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), is sending the Oruc Reis drill ship in the area.

According to an announcement by the Antalya hydrographic service, the vessel will conduct explorations starting on Tuesday which will last until August 2.

Defense sources in Athens fear that Turkey plans to ignite a general crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Such a crisis, they say, would aim at preventing an EEZ demarcation agreement between Greece and Egypt which is on the negotiating table. In addition, they add, Ankara wants to exploit the perceived policy vacuum in the US which is heading towards presidential elections.

On Tuesday Greece’s foreign minister said illegal behavior of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean was threatening the cohesion of NATO and Ankara’s relations with the European Union.

“The illegal and provocative behaviour of Turkey has a serious backlash not only to peace and stabiity in the Eastern Mediterranean but to the cohesion of NATO and to its relations with the European Union,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said after a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Athens.

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