By Sarp Ozer
ANKARA (AA) – Blasting a Greek move on its maritime territory as “provocative,” Turkey on Monday issued a counter naval alert for its continental shelf area in the Aegean.
On Sept. 16, Greece issued a Navtex navigational alert for "scientific research" by the Nautical Geo research vessel on Sept. 16-22 east of Crete, an area including Turkey’s continental shelf, but Turkey’s Navtex challenged the Greek move.
"Turkey is determined to protect and defend its rights and interests on its continental shelf against such unlawful, aggressive, and provocative attempts, as part of its legitimate rights and authorities arising from international law," sources at Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said about the Greek Navtex.
The sources, who asked not to be named, also criticized "baseless" Greek media reports saying that research by the Nautical Geo on “mapping a possible route for the EastMed pipeline east of Crete was blocked by Turkish warships."
They added that Turkey’s Navtex was issued on grounds including encroachment on the Turkish Continental Shelf and that the move was not previously coordinated with Turkey.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region – including maritime disputes – through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev