Piri Reis, the Turkish naval research ship, has entered the Greece’ continental shelf to illegally execute survey, 45 miles south of Greek island Kastelorizo, some 3 nautical miles off the Turkish coast, report Greek and Cypriot media.
Athens sent a Coast Guard boat to warn the Piri Reis and ask her to leave the area. The incident occurred Friday night around 10 pm. The vessel violated the Cypriot continental shelf as well.
Earlier Saturday the oceanographic research ship was moving some 55.8 NM east from Greek island of Rhodes according to www.marinetraffic.com ( 20:10 UTC – To check: give vessel name Koca Piri Reis and see position in the map)
The “Piri Reis departed recently from Turkey in order to survey “seismic activity” in South East Mediterranean Sea, claim Turkish authorities. A 15-person team comprising of Turkish and Canadian scientists have embarked on the research ship to conduct studies until August 20.
“As a result of the studies of the scientists, we will get more information about the probable effects of ground motion that may occur in the Mediterranean basin, where millions of people have their holiday every year,” said Doğan Yaşar, deputy chairman of Dokuz Eylül University Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology to HurriyetDailyNews.
Greeks and Cypriots are suspicious about the ‘humanitarian mission’ of Piri Reis as it has often in the past surveyed the Meditteranean basin for oil, violating the continental shelfs of Greece and Cyprus. Every time the Piri Reis sails in the area tension is increased and diplomatic protest notes exchange hands.
Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who is currently in Almaty, Kazakhstan, met with Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglou on the sidelines of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Foreign Ministers meeting.
During his meeting with Davutoglu, Droutsas brought up the recent moves of the Turkish vessel Piri Reis inside the continental shelf of Greek islands, stressing the inconsistency between Turkey’s statements and actions. He warned that Ankara’s recent actions undermine the prospects for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations and bilateral cooperation.
Greek and Cypriot Defense Ministries monitor closely the moves of the Turkish vessel.