Turkey says east Med ship will return after maintenance

The Oruc Reis seismic survey ship has been unsettling the strategic eastern Mediterranean region since Turkey sent it along with a small navy flotilla into disputed seas on August 10. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 September 2020

Turkey says east Med ship will return after maintenance

  • The Oruc Reis seismic survey ship has been unsettling the strategic eastern Mediterranean region since Turkey sent it along with a small navy flotilla into disputed seas on August 10
  • Greece responded by staging navy drills with France and several EU allies near ones Turkey was holding last month

ANKARA: Turkey said on Monday that an energy exploration vessel that had pulled out of waters claimed by Greece was only undergoing routine maintenance and would return soon.
The Oruc Reis seismic survey ship has been unsettling the strategic eastern Mediterranean region since Turkey sent it along with a small navy flotilla into disputed seas on August 10.
Greece responded by staging navy drills with France and several EU allies near ones Turkey was holding last month.
The escalating row has seen Germany try to mediate a solution and NATO host consultations aimed at avoiding the two alliance members accidentally going to war — as they almost did over a few contested islands in 1996.
Ankara confirmed on Sunday that the ship had pulled out of the contested waters and returned to the Turkish coast.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed it as a “positive first step.”
But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it would be a “mistake” for Greece to interpret the Oruc Reis’s withdrawal as a step back by Ankara.
“This is routine maintenance and (crew) replenishment work,” Cavusoglu said in a televised interview.
“Greece can perceive it as a step back in the face of our determination,” he said. “It is suffering the insecurities of a small country.”
The Turkish energy ministry said in a separate statement that after undergoing “examination and care, the vessel will continue its seismic search and research activities.”
Ankara is frustrated that Greece is using its far-flung eastern islands to claim control over waters near the Turkish shore.
The European Union has fully backed Athens and dangled the threat of economic sanctions against Turkey being adopted at a summit planned for September 24-25.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Cyprus on Sunday that Washington was also “deeply concerned” by Turkish exploration “in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction.”
Turkey directs much of its fury at the so-called “Seville map” that Greece uses to justify its claims.
The map was drawn up by Spain’s University of Seville on commission from the European Union in the early 2000s.
It suggests granting full economic zones to Greece’s small islands in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean Seas.
Turkey says the map breaches its sovereignty and contradicts past examples of countries’ distant islands not being given full economic zones.
Cavusoglu on Monday called the map “the cause of all the tension.”
The two sides could enter direct negotiations “if (Greece) gives up its maximalist demands. It could forgo the Seville map,” Cavusoglu said.
“But there is no good will in Greece. We haven’t seen it yet.”

Now read: Turkey does not expect EU sanctions over eastern Mediterranean dispute


Dawn of a new leader, Kuwait’s new emir sworn in and pledges to do his ‘utmost best’

Updated 30 September 2020

Dawn of a new leader, Kuwait’s new emir sworn in and pledges to do his ‘utmost best’

  • The new Emir said the country’s constitution ensured a “smooth transition” of leadership
  • He succeeds his brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who ruled Kuwait since 2006

DUBAI: Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabeh has been sworn in as the new Kuwait Emir on Wednesday, vowing to carry out his responsibilities to his utmost best, state news agency KUNA has reported.
Al-Sabah said the country’s constitution ensured a “smooth transition” of leadership, as the country mourned the death of his brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who ruled Kuwait since 2006.
“The trust bestowed upon me by the Kuwaiti people is a trust I bear in my neck,” the new Emir said.

(AFP)

“Kuwait has been subjected, throughout its long history, to serious and harsh challenges that we managed to overcome through cooperation,” he added.

Al-Sabah paid tribute to the previous leadership and said “Sheikh Sabah’s policy will remain a highlight for us.”
The Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim also spoke at the ceremony.
“We are confident that Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will lead Kuwait to prosperity,” he said.

His appointment was immediately welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who said that his country and Kuwait have always had strong bonds throughout the years.

Other Arab leaders - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Iraq’s Bahram Salih, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa, and Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq - also congratulated Sheikh Nawaf on his new role.