Turkey recalled an oil and gas exploration vessel from disputed eastern Mediterranean waters to allow for diplomacy with Greece, said President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. However, he stated Turkey’s work in the region is not finished.
NATO members Turkey and Greece bitterly disagree over maritime jurisdiction and energy exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean and tensions flared last month when Turkey sent Oruc Reis to waters also claimed by Greece.
On Sunday, the Oruc Reis seismic survey vessel returned to port for what Ankara called routine maintenance, a move Greece said was a positive first step in easing tensions. “Let’s give diplomacy a chance, let’s put forth a positive approach for diplomacy. Greece should also positively meet this approach of ours, and let’s take a step accordingly,” Erdogan said in Istanbul after Friday prayers. “This is why we did it.””– Reuters