Turkish media outlets reported that Turkey’s seismic research vessel Oruç Reis left the port of Antalya early on Sept. 22 and was waiting near the port.
After weeks of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Oruç Reis returned to the Antalya port on Sept. 13, a move Greece said was a positive first step in easing tensions over offshore natural resources.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 13 that the vessel was withdrawn to allow for diplomacy with Greece but Turkey’s work in the region is not finished.
“But this does not mean that because Oruç Reis was pulled back for maintenance, our seismic activities will fully stop,” he told reporters. “Once the maintenance period is finished, Oruç Reis will go back to its operations again and continue its work there.”
Turkey, Greece ready to resume exploratory talks: Turkish presidency
Meanwhile, the Turkish presidency said on Sept. 22 that Turkey and Greece stated they are ready to resume exploratory talks to address their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. The statement came after a call between the leaders of Turkey, Germany and the European Union.
In a videoconference between Erdoğan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Council President Charles Michel, Erdoğan said the “partial momentum” secured by establishing dialogue should be maintained with reciprocal steps, the Turkish presidency said.
Erdoğan also said he hoped an EU summit on Sept. 24-25 would bring new impetus to Turkey-EU ties, adding concrete steps on updating a customs union between the two sides, visa-free travel and migration would help put ties on a positive basis.