Turkey and Greece have decided to conduct rival naval exercises off the Greek Island of Crete on Tuesday. The announcement comes after rising tensions over claims to gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey has also sent an official warning to other vessels.
Germany is likely to send its Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Athens and Ankara on Tuesday as it tried to decrease tension. The Minister is likely to meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis before negotiations in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart.
According to the international news agency, Turkey has announced on Monday that the exploration by its Oruc Reis research vessel in contentious waters would be delayed for four days till 27th August.
“Greece is responding calmly and with readiness both on a diplomatic and on an operational level. And with national confidence it does everything needed to defend its sovereign rights,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan responded, “Turkey will not take even the smallest step back from the activities of either Oruc Reis or our naval elements escorting it”.
Greece had “thrown itself into a chaos from which it cannot find a way out,” he said.
Turkey and Greece – both Nato members – are at loggerheads over the discovery of oil and gas deposits off Crete and Cyprus in disputed waters.