Turkey ordered its seismic exploration vessel Oruc Reis to port on Monday, less than two weeks before a European Union summit where the bloc will evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara.
The vessel, which was spotted just seven miles off the coast of the Greek island of Kastellorizo on Thursday, has been sailing in waters atop Greece’s continental shelf.
Turkey withdrew Oruc Reis from waters ahead of a previous EU summit in October to “allow for diplomacy”, but later sent it back after what it called unsatisfactory outcomes from the summit. Earlier this month, Turkey said Oruc Reis would operate in the region until November 29.
The Energy Ministry said on Monday the vessel had completed a mission which started on August 10. “Our ship, which has collected 10,995 km of 2D seismic data, has returned to the Antalya port,” it said in a tweet.
Greece has warned that last-minute “goodwill” gestures by Turkey are a little more than a ploy and asked the EU to impose sanctions.
“Turkey has left no room for any kind of positive agenda at the forthcoming European Council,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a statement earlier in November.
He added that any last-minute “goodwill” gesture by Turkey now will be little more than a ploy and that “it’s not easy to fool the European Union.”