QA-74, 10 August 2020, Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy, in Response to a Question Regarding the Press Release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece dated 10 August 2020 on the Activities of Oruç Reis

As is known, the seismic survey activity of our research vessel Oruç Reis, which had been scheduled for last July within the areas of our continental shelf declared to UN and within the license areas granted by the Turkish Government to TPAO in 2012, was temporarily suspended upon the instructions of H.E. President Erdoğan.

This gesture of good-will, aimed to give a chance to diplomacy and revitalize the dialogue channels which we made upon the request of Germany and the EU, has not been reciprocated.

Greece demonstrated that she is not sincere and honest about dialogue with a pirated agreement concluded with Egypt on 6 August 2020. Through this agreement, the continental shelves of both Turkey and Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean have been violated. Upon this development our reserach vessel Oruç Reis, as of today, has launched its previously planned activity.

There is no legal basis for the objections of Greece to this activity. As repeatedly stated on previous occasions, the Greek islands in the region, Kastellorizo in particular, cutting off the continental shelf of Turkey is against the principle of equity, which is the main principle of international law for maritime boundary delimitation.

Turkey, having not seen once again a positive response to its good-will gesture, will continue to exercise her rights stemming from international law and to resolutely continue her planned activities.

The party escalating tension in the Mediterranean is not Turkey, but Greece herself. Nobody should try to overstep the line by attempting to exclude Turkey from the Mediterranean Sea which had been under Turkish dominance for centuries. Those acting under the presumption of being "the sole owners" of the Mediterranean will be deeply disappointed.

Turkey has the strength and determination as well as the means and capabilities to demolish the axes of malice formed against herself.

On the other hand, Turkish military presence in the area aims in no way toward an escalation, but merely functions as a guarantee of the exercise of our right to legitimate self-defense if need be. A military intervention on a civilian vessel of ours will naturally not be permitted.