Qa-66, 22 July 2020, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy, In Response To A Question Regarding The Statement Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of Greece Concerning The Survey Activities Of The Vessel Oruç Reis In The Eastern Mediterranean

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 22.07.2020

As part of the ongoing hydrocarbon exploration activities of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is publicly announced with a NAVTEX (Navigational Telex) broadcasted by the competent authorities that our seismic survey vessel Oruç Reis will launch a new seismic survey in the Eastern Mediterranean, starting from 21 July 2020.

The maritime area, in which Oruç Reis will conduct a survey, is located entirely within the Turkish continental shelf as declared to the United Nations and within the license blocks granted by Turkish Government to TPAO in 2012. As a matter of fact, our seismic research vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa had also conducted a survey in previous years within a portion of the same area.

This being the case, Greece raised objections to the current survey activity and claimed that the survey area is within its own continental shelf. Greece bases this claim on the presence of remote islands far from its own mainland, most notably Kastellorizo. This maximalist continental shelf claim of Greece is contrary to international law, jurisprudence and court decisions.

The argument that an island of 10 square kilometers, located only 2 kilometers away from Anatolia and 580 kilometers from the Greek mainland should generate a continental shelf area of 40.000 square kilometers is neither rational nor in line with international law. We therefore reject these unjustified assertions of Greece.

Turkey, while reiterating her calls to Greece for dialogue as repeated at every level on various occasions up until today, will also continue to defend its legitimate rights and interests stemming from international law.

Mustafa Osman Turan Ambassador
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