Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Dec. 1 that Ankara is ready for dialogue with Athens without preconditions, adding that setting a date for exploratory talks between the two sides now seems possible since the Oruç Reis research vessel has suspended its operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"As is known, Turkey has been in favor of dialogue without preconditions with Greece since the beginning," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy in a statement, responding to a question on possible dialogue with Greece after the ship Oruç Reis returned to port.
Recalling that Ankara and Athens previously agreed to resume exploratory talks, Aksoy said that the date of the talks remains undecided due to Greece "taking a step back” over the Oruç Reis issue.
"Our Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources announced that the Oruç Reis completed its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and returned to Antalya on Nov. 29," Aksoy said.
Turkey announced on Nov. 30 that the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel had returned from the Eastern Mediterranean to the southern port of Antalya after completing its current research activities.
Last week, the EU's Parliament called for sanctions against Ankara over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Turkish Cyprus and Turkish operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, which it called illegal. Turkey said it fully rejected this.
EU leaders will meet on Dec. 11-12 to discuss the sanctions, with France leading a push in the bloc to sanction Turkey. Paris has yet to draw up sanctions, but diplomats say any measures would likely target areas of Turkey's economy linked to hydrocarbon exploration.