Italian ship under Ankara’s watchful eye – Vassilis Nedos / EKATHIMERINI

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Athens is on standby to avoid unnecessary midsummer tensions as the Turkish Navy monitors the movements of the Italian ship Teliri, which is carrying out submarine fiber-optic cable laying work within the potential Greek exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

Ekathimerini, July 3, 2024, by Vassilis Nedos

On Tuesday, the ship was moving several dozens of miles southwest of Kastellorizo in the southeastern Aegean, and within the next 24 hours it is expected to sail toward the area demarcated between Greece and Egypt – i.e. south of Rhodes and further west.

The ship was monitored over the past days by corvettes of the Turkish Navy – initially by the Bartin and now by the Bozcaada. From the moment it passed from the Cypriot EEZ and into the area of the potential Greek EEZ, the Hellenic Navy missile ship Grigoropoulos was deployed. It remains to be seen whether the Turkish corvette will leave when the activities continue further west, in the area demarcated between Greece and Egypt, in an agreement between the two countries that effectively annulled the Turkish-Libyan maritime memorandum.

The situation is reportedly under control, and by all accounts the Turkish military presence is considered entirely expected. According to well-informed sources, the Italian government had duly notified both Athens and Ankara of the planned activities of the Teliri on behalf of the company Elettra tlc SpA. Indeed, the Greek Foreign Ministry had approved the request on April 18.

Meanwhile, referring to Greek-Turkish relations at an Economist event, Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said that being able to talk to “our neighbors is a service to the homeland.” Greece is not naive, he said, as “we will not agree on everything. We know that.”Unmute

“We owe it to future generations to create the conditions so that we can discuss, defuse tensions, create a path of dialogue, diplomacy and democracy. And this is what we are doing, step by step, without any exaggerated claims,” Gerapetritis said. 

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