Turkey extending manoeuvres in East Med is ‘wrong move’

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Greece and Cyprus foreign ministers on Monday held emergency talks after Turkey issued a maritime warning (Navtex) extending its illegal energy search in the East Med until August 27.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides held a long telephone conversation with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias on the Turkish move.

“Definitely, this is not a positive development. It is a development that demonstrates intentions,” Christodoulides told reporters.

“This move is in the wrong direction,” he added.

He said Germany’s Foreign Minister will visit Greece Tuesday and then Turkey in Berlin’s initiative to de-escalate the tensions.

An Informal Council of EU Foreign Ministers will also convene this week to discuss EU-Turkey ties and how Turkey’s behaviour affects those relations.

Christodoulides pointed out that Turkey`s NAVTEX renewal is in the wrong direction and this was also the first reaction from EU partners with whom Nicosia is in constant contact.

Turkey will also be on the agenda the seven Mediterranean EU states summit that will take place in Corsica on September 10.

An extraordinary European Council will discuss exclusively the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Athens on Monday issued a counter advisory to ships that its air and naval forces would conduct joint exercises in an area that overlaps with the one reserved by Ankara’s Navtex.

The move is a response to Turkey’s decision to extend its seismic surveys for oil and natural gas south of the island of Kastellorizo.

The Greek advisory reserves areas in the wider area of Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes and south of Kastellorizo.

The Navtex takes effect on Tuesday and expires on August 27.