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Oruc Reis in Greek continental shelf, German FM cancels visit to Turkey

Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis entered the Greek continental shelf early Tuesday morning. short before 10 o’ clock it turned off its geographic-positioning system. The last signal from the “Oruc Reis” was in an area within the Greek continental shelf, about 35 nautical miles south of the island of Kastellorizo.

Oruc Reis latest position at 06:30 UTC as registered by marine traffic.

The vessel left the port of Antalya on Monday after Turkey issued a navigation warning, an “illegal”  NAVTEX, reserving a sea area reaching 6.5 nautical miles off Kastellorizo and south-of Rhodes.

The Oruc Reis was moored in Antalya since mid-September when Turkey withdrew it from the Greek continental shelf alleging “maintenance”. The withdrawal took place just days before am extraordinary European Union Summit that would impose sanctions if Ankara would not refrain from “unilateral, illegal actions” in the area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The new Turkish provocation comes as the two neighboring countries have agreed to resume the exploratory contacts that were interrupted in March 2016, even thought no date was officially set.

“There will be no exploratory contacts as long as the Oruc Reis is in Greek continental shelf,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has reportedly cancelled his visit to Ankara, state broadcaster ARD reported.

As Germany is holding the rotating presidency of the EU, Berlin has undertaken a broker role to ease tensions among  Greece, Cyprus and Turkey w

Maas is visiting Nicosia and Athens on Tuesday and was scheduled to visit Ankara on Wednesday.

The German FM warned Ankara that if it did what it announced with the latest NAVTEX, it would be a “major setback” in its relations with the EU.

He called Turkey “to end the game of alternation between de-escalation and provocation” and “not to close the dialogue window with Greece again with unilateral measures.”

In Athens, Maas will meet with Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

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