German foreign minister cancels visit to Turkey after Ankara redeploys vessel in East Med

The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Ankara after Turkey said it redeployed a seismic survey ship to disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean, Redaktionsnetwerk Deutschland reported on Saturday.

"With the recent deployment of the research vessel 'Oruç Reis' at the beginning of the week, Turkey has severely damaged the atmosphere of trust that we had previously carefully conveyed. That is why I refrained from a planned trip to Ankara this week," Maas said in an interview with the RND.

Turkey redeployed the Oruç Reis near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, reigniting tensions between Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and drilling rights.

In their recent summit on Oct. 15-16, European Union leaders condemned Turkey’s decision to send Oruç Reis to contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean. However, European Council President Charles Michel said that the EU would consider its options in December.

"The European Council has decided that we will try to find negotiated solutions by December. If negotiating efforts are being torpedoed, we will have to consider other means," Maas said.

"But, Turkey cannot have any interest in a permanent continuation of all the conflicts on which it exerts influence. Strategically, Turkey should also be interested in defusing these conflicts," he said.