Turkey’s seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis returned to port of Antalya on on Monday morning from disputed Mediterranean waters, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara.
Turkey withdrew Oruc Reis from contested waters ahead of a previous EU summit in October to “allow for diplomacy”, but later sent it back after what it called unsatisfactory outcomes from the summit. Earlier this month, Turkey said Oruc Reis would operate in the region until November 29.
The Energy Ministry said on Monday the vessel had completed a mission which started on August 10. “Our ship, which has collected 10,995 km of 2D seismic data, has returned to the Antalya port,” it said in a tweet.
Last week, the European Parliament called for sanctions against Ankara over President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Northern Cyprus and Turkish operations in the eastern Mediterranean, which it called illegal. Turkey said it fully rejected this.
EU leaders will meet on December 11-12 to discuss the sanctions, with France leading a push in the bloc to sanction Turkey. Paris has yet to draw up sanctions, but diplomats say any measures would likely target areas of Turkey’s economy linked to hydrocarbon exploration, notes Reuters in a report.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Spokesman of the European Commission for Foreign Affairs Peter Stano said that the EU expects a de-escalation on the part of Turkey
Asked about the meetings held by the Representative of the Turkish Presidency in Brussels, Peter Stano noted that “the EU was very clear in terms of expectations”, which was conveyed to Ibrahim Kalin, who added that “the EU’s expectation is de-escalation.”
“EU leaders will meet again in December to review and re-evaluate what has happened on the Turkish side so that the EU can move on to a positive agenda and a constructive dialogue or whether all other options will be explored. as underlined in the conclusions of the October European Council “, Stano pointed out.
He emphasized the EU solidarity in Greece and Cyprus.
PS we’ll see in two weeks how the EU will express its solidarity as so far there have been just lip services and pat on the shoulder.