No provocation will remain unanswered: Greek PM on E.Mediterranean

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that “no provocation will remain unanswered” on the escalation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece’s response on Wednesday came after Turkey decided to send the research vessel Oruc Reis to conduct seismic research south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the Eastern Mediterranean, reports Xinhua news agency.

In a televised address to the nation, Mitsotakis said that Greece does not seek to escalate the tension, but “no provocation will remain unanswered”.

“We hope logic will finally prevail in our neighbouring country so that honest dialogue can begin,” he said in a statement.

“As a member of the European family and stability pillar in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece stays committed to the principles of International Law and the principles of good neighbourly relations. Our country does not threaten and is not threatened by anyone.

“That is exactly why it does not succumb to threats and does not tolerate extortionist practices,” the Prime Minister added.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Friday to address the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey dispatched on Monday its seismic survey vessel Oruc Reis, escorted by Turkish warships, to the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt last week signed a maritime border agreement for the region.

Turkey said that the Oruc Reis, which has lowered 1,750 km of seismic cables into the Mediterranean Sea for a two-dimensional seismic survey, would be operating in the Mediterranean Sea until August 23.

Greece, which also deployed warships to monitor the vessel, has called on Turkey to withdraw vessels from the area.

“The risk of an accident lurks when so many naval forces gather in a limited area,” Mitsotakis said over developments in the region.

The discovery of rich gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean in the last decade has triggered a race to tap the region’s underwater resources and sparked tensions between Ankara and Athens.

Ankara and Athens have been at odds for some time over the boundaries of their respective continental shelves.

Turjey recently stepped up for its hydrocarbon research and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.