Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis along and two accompanying vessels returned on Sunday to the waters off the coast of Turkey’s southern Antalya province. Greece welcomed the move as a positive step to ease tensions over disputed energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, according to Reuters.
Turkey sent the Oruc Reis into the eastern Mediterranean to explore oil and gas energy resources in Greek and Cypriot waters.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the move “a positive first step, I hope there will be continuity. We want to talk with Turkey but in a climate without provocations.”
While Turkey faces potential E.U. sanctions over the current stand-off, Mitsotakis said Greece hopes not to go down that road.
“A sanctions list exists as an option [against Turkey]. Our desire is not to see it implemented but it will be done if we see that the other side is not returning to the path of logic,” he said, according to the report.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that the United States is concerned about Turkey’s actions in the area.
“We remain deeply concerned by Turkey’s ongoing operations … the Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources including the right to hydrocarbons found … in its exclusive economic zone,” said Pompeo, according to Reuters.