Turkey’s new seismic survey in Mediterranean set to revive Greek tensions

Above, the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel docked at Haydarpasa port in Istanbul. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 10 August 2020

Turkey’s new seismic survey in Mediterranean set to revive Greek tensions

  • Two NATO allies are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region
  • Oruc Reis vessel has already reached the location where it will operate

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s navy has issued an advisory saying that the Turkish ship Oruc Reis will carry out a seismic survey in a disputed area in the eastern Mediterranean over the next two weeks, a step likely to revive tensions with neighboring Greece.
The two NATO allies are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region. A similar advisory, or Navtex, last month prompted a dispute which was calmed after the intervention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leading Turkey to agree a pause in operations.
But President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the region as Greece had not kept its promises on the issue.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was expected to chair a meeting of the government council on foreign affairs and defense issues at 0900 GMT, his office said on Monday.
Minister of State George Gerapetritis told Greek state TV that Athens was in full “political and operational readiness.” Greece stood ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with Turkey on their differences, he said.
The NAVTEX, issued by the Turkish navy’s office of navigation, covered an area of sea south of Turkey’s Antalya and west of Cyprus. It will be in effect between August 10-23.
The Oruc Reis vessel has already reached the location where it will operate after leaving the area where it was anchored off Antalya, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Twitter.
Seismic surveys are part of preparatory work for potential hydrocarbon exploration. Turkey and Greece are also at odds over issues such as overflights in the Aegean Sea and ethnically divided Cyprus.
Erdogan’s announcement of the new exploration work came after Egypt and Greece signed an accord last Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone between the two nations in the east Mediterranean.
Diplomats in Greece said that agreement nullified an accord reached last year between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya, but Erdogan said Turkey would maintain its agreement with Libya “decisively.”


Yemeni government calls for Iran’s arms embargo to be extended 

Updated 23 min 54 sec ago

Yemeni government calls for Iran’s arms embargo to be extended 

  • A Yemeni minister called to intensify pressure on the Iranian regime
  • He said Tehran’s activities that undermine the security and stability of the region

Yemen’s Minister of Information Muammar Al-Iryani called on the international community and the permanent members of the Security Council to extend the arms embargo previously imposed on Iran.
The Yemeni minister also called to intensify pressure on the Iranian regime. He said Tehran’s “terrorist activities that undermine the security and stability of the region and international peace” must be stopped, state news agency Saba reported on Saturday. 
“The Iranian regime’s continued supply of weapons, experts and funds to the Houthi militia is a flagrant violation of international resolutions related to the Yemeni crisis,” Iryani said. 
Al-Iryani added that the arrest of a Houthi cell for smuggling Iranian weapons and its admission to receiving training in Iran and its association with the Revolutionary Guards is compelling evidence of Iran’s involvement in managing weapons smuggling operations and supporting the Houthi militia.
Al-Iryani indicated that these confessions confirm the Houthi militia's exploitation of the Stockholm Agreement – signed in December 2018 – and its use of the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa for smuggling Iranian weapons.