Turkish research vessel to end work in the Mediterranean

Turkey’s Oruc Reis vessel will conclude its seismic survey activities today. The Oruc Reis was originally sent in September to

Oruc Reis

Photo: Reuters

Turkey’s Oruc Reis vessel will conclude its seismic survey activities today.

The Oruc Reis was originally sent in September to the waters west of Cyprus to scan for energy reserves located beneath the seabed. The ship’s search for oil and gas has been the centre of a dispute between Turkey and Greece since it conducted its research close to the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

The dispute over gas exploration, as well as Turkey’s backing of the partial re-opening of Varosha, has contributed to deteriorating EU-Turkish relations. EU leaders have previously warned Turkey to stop drilling off the coast of Cyprus. On November 26, members of the European Parliament urged EU leaders to sanction Turkey over these actions. However, Germany’s support, as the current holder of the EU’s presidency, is necessary for sanctions to be imposed.

Germany is embroiled in a dispute with Turkey over the interception of a Turkish ship. Therefore, expect Germany to support sanctioning Turkey during European Council meetings in December. However, Turkey’s strategic importance to Europe—Turkey is a NATO ally, plays a military role in Libya, and is a key partner in discouraging refugee migration into Europe—will prevent EU leaders from completely cutting ties and abandoning dialogue with Turkey.

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