Turkey’s Kanuni drill ship has sailed from Myrsine (Μυρσίνη, Turkish: Mersin) on Turkey’s southeast Mediterranean coast and is reportedly headed to Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη, Turkish: İstanbul), sailing through sensitive territory.
The sail of Kanuni comes as Turkey’s other research vessel, the Oruç Reis, continues to violate Greece’s continental shelf in the East Mediterranean, sparking a new round of hostilities with Greece when the European Union thought that dialogie with Turkey would actually amount to something.
Minister of State Giorgos Ierapetritis said on Wednesday night that Greece would consider any violation of the 6-nautical-mile boundary a violation of its “red lines.”
This is the first time that Greece has established a firm “red line” against Turkey since it sparked tensions with Greece when it signed the illegal Memorandum of Understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Although the GNA received a mandate to rule over Libya for a two year period, this expired in December 2017.
“National sovereignty is a red line and when we say national sovereignty, we obviously mean national territorial waters, which, today, are defined at 6 nautical miles,” Ierapetritis said when speaking on Alpha television.
The passage of Kanuni through the Aegean comes as Athens is hoping the European Union will finally enact a strong reaction against Turkey’s constant provocations against Greece.
The European Council in Brussels is holding a meeting today and Friday to discuss a variety of issues, but Turkey is not on the agenda.
Although Greece and Cyprus hopes to force Turkey onto the agenda, the Greek public have little expectations that anything decisive against Turkey will be discussed and/or agreed upon as Berlin continues a policy of appeasing Ankara’s aggression.
Germany has rhetorically condemned Turkey’s renewed aggression against Greece but sources in Berlin say that Chancellor Angela Merkel is still unwilling to sanction Ankara.
Greece has a legal right to announce 12 nautical miles as its territorial waters, but to avoid conflict with Turkey, has kept its territorial waters at 6 nautical miles.