Germany criticizes Turkey for return of survey vessel to disputed waters

German foreign minister Heiko Maas has criticized Turkey for sending survey vessel Oruc Reis back to the Eastern Mediterranean after a stop-off in a Turkish port for maintenance. Maas called the move a blow to efforts to start negotiations in the conflict. “Turkey’s back and forth between escalation and a policy of detente has to stop,” Maas said after meeting his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia on Tuesday October 13th, adding that it was “up to Turkey to create the conditions for talks.”

Maas’s trip initially had been intended  to mediate and reduce tensions in the region, but he said that he had deliberately left Ankara out of his itinerary. “My decision only to travel to Nicosia and Athens today is owing to the current developments that we have been talking about”.

Greece said that it would not be engaging in exploratory talks with Turkey for as long as Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis remained in its continental shelf waters.