The step-up of Turkish moves that irritate – to say the least – the Greek side has taken a further turn when the oceanographic/climate research ship Bilim-2 was dispatched to roam the Greek EEZ, following a NAVTEX issued by Turkey.
The fact that the area mentioned in that NAVTEX covers a triangle ranging from Rhodes, South-easternward to Kastellorizo and Westwards to near the easternmost top of Crete, that the venerable (35 years-old) vessel will operate for the better part of 3 weeks and that a Turkish naval ship is shadowing it, does little to help. Still, the Bilim-2 has not the potential to effect seismic surveys (as the Barbaros or the Oruc Reis, presently at the Cyprus EEZ), much less hydrocarbon drilling (as the Yavuz or the Fatih drillships).
Since all this comes as a sequel to the “Blue Homeland” maps, displayed as a backdrop to the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and claiming much of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, nerves were getting all the more tense.
Meanwhile, in Cyprus just as talks between Greek-and Turkish-Cypriots were close to start anew under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, the Turkish side officially announced a decision to open (and presumably, make available to developers) the enclosed – “phantom” – city of Varosha, part of the former tourist heaven Famagusta. From 1975 – when more than one-third of Cyprus was occupied by the Turkish army – to the present, the status of Varosha was under UN Security Council Resolutions to be accessible only to tis former inhabitants.
Disturbing moves keep piling up.