Autumn awaits Athens, full of questions about the degree of escalation that Turkey will be willing to go to to thwart exploration work on the future offshore route of the pipeline. EastMed…
Over the past few days, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has repeatedly communicated with his colleagues in the European Union and briefed them in detail about the presence of units of the Turkish fleet at a distance of 10 nautical miles from Crete, as well as about attempts obstruct the exit beyond the 6-mile radius of the research vessel Nautical Geo, which took on the task of mapping the offshore pipeline route from the Greek island to Cyprus and from there to Israel.
The steps taken in response by Athens and the promotion of this issue at the level of EU foreign ministers, and for partners and allies in the wider region and beyond, speaks volumes of Greece’s intentions, considering, in addition, that Nautical Geo is implementing the project on behalf of three countries (Greece, Israel and the Republic of Cyprus).
After this issue was duly addressed, Athens decided to extend Nautical Geo’s mission until September 26, so that it could move further east despite constant radio harassment from Turkish warships.
As far as Greece is concerned, prospecting work extends to the area up to the 28th meridian, where the current agreement between Greece and Egypt on the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones ends. The next area of interest is from this point to the outer limits of the Cyprus continental shelf, and from there to Cyprus itself. To the east of Cyprus, responsibility lies with other countries.
The two main questions are whether the Nautical Geo will move further east and, if it does, whether it will be accompanied by a warship.
As Katimerini has already reported, a few days ago it was decided to send a coast guard boat to the Nautical Geo deployment site. However, after simulated attack a Greek boat from the Turkish frigate “Gemlik” was sent to the area and a Greek warship.
Ankara’s actions so far have not gone beyond the counter tactics, issuing anti-vex signals and a dangerous approach of warships in the border zone of Greece (from 6 to 12 nautical miles).
The question, however, is what happens if the Turks decide to permanently block research activities using warships as an obstacle.