BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – On Sunday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar accused Greece of arming 18 islands in the Aegean Sea in contravention of international law, indicating that this increases tension and undermines dialogue.
According to Anadolu Agency, the Turkish Defense Minister called on Greece to abandon the provocative actions that could escalate the tension.
Akar said that “from Turkey’s point of view, tension and provocative movements will not benefit whatever it is, especially Greece.”
“We support dialogue and we wish to solve the problems in the region through peaceful and political means,” he added.
On the decision to return the exploration vessel “Uruj Reis” from the eastern Mediterranean, a step that Athens welcomed, Akar commented, “The ship returned to the port of Antalya within the framework of our plans, and this does not mean giving up our rights.”
Earlier today, the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that the Uruj Reis ship had suspended its operations in the area, which was planned to continue until September 25, after talks with the Greek side.
“The ship was towed to the port of Antalya after the expiry of the previously announced shipping notice period,” they added.
The move comes amid ongoing tensions between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over their respective maritime borders and gas exploration rights.