Greece condemns Ankara as Turkish survey ship sets sail

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ISTANBUL/ATHENS (Reuters) – Tensions spiked between Greece and Turkey on Monday over offshore rights in the eastern Mediterranean, with Athens vowing to push its EU peers to activate sanctions against Ankara.

The deterioration in relations followed the departure earlier on Monday of a Turkish ship, the Oruc Reis, to conduct work south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, which is close to Turkey’s southern coast.

Greece’s foreign ministry described the development as a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region”.

Ankara had withdrawn the same vessel from contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean last month to “allow for diplomacy” before an EU summit at which Cyprus pushed for sanctions against Turkey.

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