Turkey to suspend research in waters disputed with Greece

Turkish official said Tuesday that Turkey will suspend research for oil and gas exploration in disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean. (File/AP)
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Updated 28 July 2020

Turkey to suspend research in waters disputed with Greece

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his aides to “be constructive and put this on hold for some time”
  • NATO allies Greece and Turkey are at odds over drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkey will suspend research for oil and gas exploration in disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean that abruptly raised military tensions with neighboring Greece, a top Turkish official said Tuesday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his aides to “be constructive and put this on hold for some time,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk.
Last week, Turkey announced plans to dispatch research vessel Oruc Reis and two support ships to carry out operations through Aug. 2 south of the Greek islands of Rhodes, Karpathos and Kastellorizo. The declaration angered Greece and prompted criticism by the United States, France and other European countries.
NATO allies Greece and Turkey are at odds over drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey has accused Greece of trying to exclude it from the benefits of potential oil and gas finds in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, arguing that sea boundaries for commercial exploitation should be divided between the Greek and Turkish mainlands and not include the Greek islands on an equal basis. Athens counters that Turkey’s position is a violation of international law.
“Everyone should continue working on their own continental shelves and conduct joint work in contested areas,” Kalin said. He also said that bilateral issues with Greece should be solved through dialogue rather than through threats on Turkey’s bid for European Union membership.
On Monday, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Turkey was withdrawing navy vessels from the area, adding that Athens remained ready to enter negotiations with Turkey “within the framework of international law and good neighborly relations.”
The two historic regional rivals have come close to war three times since the early 1970s, including over offshore exploitation rights, ownership of an uninhabited Aegean Sea islet. The most serious confrontation was in 1974, when Turkey invaded the Eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, following an abortive coup by supporters of union with Greece.


Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

Updated 37 min 39 sec ago

Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

  • The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah

BEIRUT: A few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah, during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, of having "secret headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut," the party organized a media tour of the Jnah area that Netanyahu referred to, to deny the information he provided.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah responded to Netanyahu in a live speech on Tuesday night, and called on the air the media to tour the facility that Netanyahu talked about and said: "We do not place our missiles, neither in the Beirut port, nor near a gas station, nor between homes, and we know." Well, where should we place our missiles? "

The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah, Muhammad Afif, to the facility that Netanyahu talked about in Jnah area and it turned out to be a steel-cutting factory and said: "We are not scouts for the enemy and we do not provide him with information, but this tour aims to reveal that these facilities have no connection with storage Weapons of resistance. "

The media tour accompanied by supporters of the party chanting for Nasrallah, during which Muhammad Afif said: "The enemy's claims are false, and this industrial facility has existed for decades."

The owner of the industrial facility in the Janah, who came in hastily at night to open the plant to the media, said: "This is a steel-cutting factory. We have workers and we work normally. Our doors are always open to everyone, and there are no missiles in it as you can see."

This plant is located in the industrial area of ​​Jnah, on the administrative borders of Beirut. Netanyahu had said of it that has "missile depots a meter away from gas depots near Beirut airport."

In information released by its spokesman, Avichai Adrai, the Israeli army identified two additional sites, which he claimed "Hezbollah used to manufacture parts for precision-guided missiles."

“One of the two sites is an underground facility built under four seven-story residential buildings in which 70 families live in the Al-Laylaki neighborhood east of Beirut International Airport, and next to it is a church and a medical center, and the second facility is under a complex of five residential buildings in which about 50 families live in Choueifat, located about 90 meters from a mosque.