Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Oct. 21 condemned Turkey for "violating international law" during one-day regional summit. Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the "baseless" allegations a day later, saying that Ankara will continue to protect "our rights and the Turkish Cypriots' rights with determination."
Ankara said on Oct. 21 it extended the stay of its Oruç Reis survey vessel and two other ships in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean until Oct. 27. Ankara had withdrawn Oruç Reis from last month to "allow for diplomacy" before a European Union summit at which Cyprus sought sanctions against Turkey, but sent it back this month, prompting an angry rebuke from Greece, France and Germany.
Greece has asked the European Commission to consider suspending a customs union agreement between Turkey and the European Union due to Ankara’s “continued provocations." Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Commission should consider the full suspension of the customs union “as a message of disapproval for Turkey's ongoing illegal behavior" against the EU.
A fresh row has erupted between Turkey and Greece, this time with Athens accusing Ankara of deliberately holding up a government aircraft carrying its foreign minister home from Iraq, leaving it circling for 20 minutes before granting it permission to cross Turkish airspace. "It is one more provocation in Turkey's series of provocations," Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.
Tensions rose between Ankara and Athens once again after Turkey's decision send Oruç Reis for seismic surveys in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greek Foreign Ministry has said that Ankara's move is a major escalation of tensions. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara's operations were within its continental shelf and it expected Greece to refrain from steps escalating tensions.
Last week's European Union summit decisions were not sufficient to overcome problems in relations between Turkey and the block, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 6.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that Turkey ees a European Union summit this week as an opportunity to reset relations between them, but the bloc must produce specific proposals and a timetable to work on a roadmap together. "It must be a mutual process. If Turkey is expected to do X, Y, Z, EU countries must fulfil their responsibilities as well," Kalın said.
Greece on Sept. 27 called on Turkey to condemn and investigate what it said was an "insult" to its national flag on the Greek island of Kastellorizo. "We expect Turkish authorities to immediately condemn and investigate the incident, so that the culprits are brought before justice," it said. "Such unacceptable actions only seek to torpedo prospects for easing tensions between the two countries."
Turkey and Greece have agreed to resume talks over their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean after a four year hiatus. Ömer Çelik, spokesman for Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said preparations for the resumption of talks were under way and that the two sides were working on the parameters.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Turkey recalled Oruç Reis from disputed waters to allow for diplomacy with Greece. "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 in Istanbul after Friday prayers. "This is why we did it," he added.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on Sept. 16 that nothing could justify Turkey's intimidation of Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute over energy resources. "Turkey is and will always be an important neighbour. But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing," she said.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has deemed the return of seismic research vessel Oruç Reis to its base in Antalya "a compromise," while also calling on the government to "not make compromises in our rightful cause" following an extraordinary meeting on the escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
European Union sanctions on Belarus are being delayed by a separate dispute between Cyprus and Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, four EU diplomats told Reuters, in the latest sign of paralysis in the bloc's foreign policy.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that Greece needs dialogue with Turkey with regards to the Eastern Mediterranean crisis, but not "when held at gunpoint." "What threatens the security and stability of my country threatens the well-being and safety of all European Union member states," he said.
A Kurdish woman from Turkey's Diyarbakır has recorded a video asking Ankara and Athnes for help locating her husband and son, whom she hasn't heard from since a migrant boat crashed with all of them onboard on Aug. 25 near a small Greek island. Berivan Cansun said that she doesn't even know if her husband and son are alive.