Weber says Turkey ‘undermining efforts’ to de-escalate tensions in East Med

Turkey’s decision to dispatch again a survey vessel in the eastern Mediterranean for a new research mission is “undermining efforts” to ease the crisis over energy rights in the region, the head of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, told Kathimerini in a statement on Monday.

“By sending out the Oruç Reis, Turkey is once again undermining efforts to deescalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. In the face of the permanent provocations and attacks that we have witnessed over the last couple of months, the Greek government has been extremely constructive and reasonable in its approach,” he said.

 “Now it is clear that (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan only de-escalated to avoid sanctions against Turkey at the latest European Council. That is why it is urgent that the European Council at the end of this week send a clear message: call the Oruç Reis back to port and start talks or face sanctions,” he added.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu new agency said the Turkish search vessel Oruc Reis left the port of Antalya on Monday to resume its survey of hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece's Foreign Ministry on Monday called the decision a “major escalation and a direct threat to peace and security in the region”.

(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced by permission.)