By : Marwa Mahmoud
After a strong reaction from the Greek side, the Greek City Time newspaper said that Turkey had withdrawn its warships, which it had deployed in the Mediterranean, in preparation for gas exploration.
Turkey was also quick to delete a propaganda tweet published by the Turkish embassy in the United States, which claimed that the OruC Reis drilling rig had already begun exploration.
Ankara had previously said it would conduct a “seismic survey”, that is, a technique for deep sea research, near a Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean.
Last Tuesday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dundas said that Turkey’s “illegal” behavior in the eastern Mediterranean threatened the cohesion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Ankara’s relations with the European Union.
There have long been tensions between Greece and Turkey on a number of issues, starting from their respective airspace and maritime borders to divided Cyprus.
Tensions have been heightened by Turkey’s attempts to drill for natural gas off Cyprus, a close ally of Greece.
Greece recently requested, during two high-level European meetings, to impose sanctions on Turkey, while Cyprus called for a united European response to Ankara.
“The European Union cannot keep silent on Turkey’s violation of the sovereignty of two EU member states,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakis Mitsotakis said in a brief intervention on tension in the eastern Mediterranean during the EU leaders’ summit devoted to the recovery plan last week.