İrem UZUN -TDO- Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has convened the government's national security council after Turkey announced its research vessel would be conducting exploratory drilling in the eastern Mediterranean in an area between Cyprus and Greece. The council met on Monday as Greece's navy ships were monitoring the Turkish seismic research ship Oruc Reis.
Last week, Turkey announced it would be conducting a firing exercise in the eastern Mediterranean Monday and Tuesday in a nearby area, southwest of the Turkish coast between Turkey and the Greek island of Rhodes. However, The Oruc Reis's mission challenges a Greek-Egyptian gas exploration deal. “Greece will not accept any blackmail. It will defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights,” Greece’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We call on Turkey to immediately end its illegal actions that undermine peace and security in the region.” Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said the Oruc Reis had arrived in its area of operation from its anchorage off Turkey’s southern coast. He tweeted that “83 million back the Oruc Reis,” referring to Turkey’s population.
According to the Euronews, Mitsotakis spoke on Monday with European Council President Charles Michel, informing him about the Greek-Egyptian agreement and the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, officials said. The two sides had been in negotiations in Berlin and were on the verge of issuing a joint statement, but the Greek-Egyptian deal led to Turkey halting the talks. “The moment the agreement with Egypt was announced, we received a clear instruction from our president: ‘You are halting the talks. Inform the Germans and the Greeks, we are not pressing ahead with the negotiations,’” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin told CNN-Turk.