Middle East Online

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Turkey suspends energy search off Greek island

Turkey on Tuesday said it had agreed to suspend “for a while” gas and oil search of one of its vessels off a Greek island amid tensions over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece’s navy last week said it had deployed ships in the Aegean in “heightened readiness” after Turkey announced plans for energy exploration near the island – an area Ankara claims is on its continental shelf.

Turkish vessel “Oruc Reis” planned to search for hydrocarbons “180 kilometres (110 miles) from the island of Meis (Kastellorizo in Greek)”, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told private broadcaster CNN-Turk.

“Despite this our president said while the negotiations are continuing, let’s be constructive and hold (energy search) for a while,” he said.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron called for Turkey to be “sanctioned” and accused Ankara of treading on the rights of Greece and Cyprus, as all three nations scramble to exploit recently discovered gas reserves.

Kalin on Tuesday said Greece was an “important neighbour” to Turkey and added: “We are ready to discuss (all disputes) with Greece without any conditions.” Source