Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Greek Ambassador
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Greek ambassador days after it called on Greece to avoid escalating long-standing disputes in the Mediterranean Sea
Greek Ambassador to Ankara Petros Mavroidis was summoned on Tuesday to the Turkish Foreign Ministry amid a deterioration in bilateral relations over the exploration of oil and gas on Cyprus's shelf, a representative of the ministry told reporters.
On October 18, Turkish media reported that the Turkish navy had stopped a Greek vessel from "harassing" a Turkish research ship in the eastern Mediterranean, where the Republic of Cyprus is situated.
Prior to that, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that a research vessel owned by the Turkish Petroleum International Company started seismic research on the shelf in the area.
"Yes, we confirm that the ambassador has been summoned," the representative of the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
On October 9, the Turkish minister of energy and natural resources announced that Ankara would start exploratory drilling at oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea in late October.
Gas reserves off Cyprus's coast were discovered by the US Noble Energy company in 2011.
Cyprus then granted oil and gas exploration licenses to French Total, Italian Eni and US ExxonMobil. Ankara has been opposing offshore oil and gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus by foreign companies, claiming that it violates the rights of the Turkish community living on the island.
Turkey also said that it would start exploratory drilling in the area at the request of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, that was proclaimed on the island in 1983 following Turkey's invasion and has not been recognized by any state except for Turkey.