Greece says no talks with Turkey as long as survey ship in area

FILE PHOTO: Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis sails in the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik/File Photo

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will not engage in exploratory talks with Turkey as long as Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis remains in its continental shelf waters, the government’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

“As long as the Oruc Reis is in the area we will not hold exploratory contacts with Turkey,” Stelios Petsas told Skai Radio.

On Monday, Greece said Ankara’s decision to send the vessel close to Kastellorizo, a Greek island near the Turkish coast, was a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region”.

Turkey had withdrawn the vessel from contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean last month to “allow diplomacy” before an EU summit at which sanctions against Turkey were discussed.

At the summit, the EU said that if Turkey continued operations in the region, sanctions could be imposed as soon as December.

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