Turkey pulled back Oruç Reis vessel to allow for diplomacy with Greece, says Erdoğan
Turkey pulled back its Oruç Reis seismic survey vessel from the eastern Mediterranean to allow for diplomacy with Greece, but this not mean Turkish operations in the region are finished, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 18.
“Let’s give diplomacy a chance, let’s put forth a positive approach for diplomacy. Greece should also positively meet this approach of ours, and let’s take a step accordingly,” Erdoğan said after Friday prayers. “This is why we did it,” he added.
“But this does not mean that because the [Oruç Reis] was pulled back for maintenance, our seismic activities will fully stop,” he told reporters.
Citing mediation efforts from the international community, especially Germany, between Ankara and Athens, Erdoğan said he was ready to meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in person or via videoconference to discuss tensions in the region.
But while Erdoğan said he was open to talks with Mitsotakis, he also said setting the content and goals of such talks would be important before sitting down for negotiations.
Oruç Reis returned to waters near Turkey's southern province of Antalya on Sunday for what Ankara called routine maintenance, a move Greece said was a positive first step in easing tensions over offshore natural resources and maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had talks with European Council President Charles Michel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Sept. 17.