The Turkish research vessel “Çeşme” left the central Aegean area yesterday morning following an illegal NAVTEX issued by Turkish authorities and according to sources, was heading to Smyrna (Σμύρνα, Turkish: İzmir).
It is still unknown whether the the Çeşme will return to the central Aegean.
Meanwhile, Turkey issued a new NAVTEX, for a area between Lemnos, Skyros and Lesvos.
It is noted that the first NAVTEX, which used the Çeşme for research south of Lemnos, expires on March 2.
It is noted that in this part of the Aegean, only the Lemnos NAVTEX station can issue notifications, not that of Smyrna’s.
There is speculation that the departure of Çeşme could be due to the Turkish military exercise called “Blue Homeland.”
The “Blue Homeland” military is scheduled from February 25 to March 7 in the Aegean and Mediterranean.
As announced by Ankara, 87 ships of the Turkish Navy and Coast Guard, 27 aircraft, 12 helicopters, F-16, F-4, as well as amphibious forces will participate in it.
On Tuesday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar accused Greece of “harassing” the Çeşme – something that Athens categorically denied.
Ankara’s intentions regarding the resumption of exploratory contacts remain unknown – as the Turkish side has been trying to make Greece responsible for the return of tension in the Aegean.