Ankara plays down surveys in Aegean Sea

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Upcoming hydrographic surveys to be conducted by Turkey’s Çeşme vessel will not have an adverse impact on exploratory talks between Ankara and Athens, according to Turkish officials, Kathimerini understands.

According to a Turkish navigational telex, or Navtex, issued on Monday, the Çeşme will operate in the sea area between the Greek islands of Limnos, Skyros and Alonnisos from Thursday to March 2.

Officials in Ankara say that the surveys will be conducted in international waters in the Aegean. They add that they will be restricted to the sea surface, as the vessel will not lay its cables on the seabed.

Çeşme carried out hydrographic surveys in the same area in 2018 under the close monitoring of Hellenic Navy ships.

Analysts say the Turkish Navtex came as a surprise as the two Aegean neighbours are supposedly engaged in efforts to ease tensions and intensify diplomatic contacts.

Meanwhile, they warn of soaring nationalist, anti-Western sentiment amid the ranks of Turkey’s ruling AKP/MHP alliance in what appears to be a bid to mobilize nationalist supporters amid speculation of early elections.

(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced by permission.)

Ahval

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