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Greece bristles at Turkish research ship in Aegean August 9, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Greece has asked Turkey to explain the presence of a Turkish naval research ship in the northern Aegean Sea. A Greek Foreign Ministry statement released on Wednesday said that the Çeşme hydrographic and oceanographic vessel was outside of Greek waters, between Thrace and the island of Samothrace. But, it said, the ship was still within Greece’s continental shelf, the stretch of seabed that Athens claims the rights to for exploration and exploitation of potential mineral and fossil fuel deposits.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said it presented a demarche to the Turkish side at the outset, asking for an explanation regarding the vessel’s activities while in continuous contact and coordination with the Greek Defense Ministry.

It also said it was monitoring the course and activities of the research vessel, which issued signals that it is undertaking marine research, vowing to “protect the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction.”

While acknowledging that Greece is seeking closer cooperation with Turkey, the statement also emphasized that Greece’s resolve to defend its sovereign rights is “beyond doubt.” Uneasy NATO allies Greece and Turkey came close to war three times between 1974 and 1996 — once over a Turkish research vessel in the Aegean.

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