Greek National Defense Minister Nikolaos Panayotopoulos informed Pentagon Chief Mark Esper about Turkey’s military activity in the Kastelorizo area and Greece’s determination to defend its sovereign rights, the Greek Defense Ministry said. Antalya Hydrographic Service on Tuesday issued Navtex International Alert for seismic surveys south and east of Kastelorizo Island from 21 July to 2 August. In Ankara, it was announced that the research vessel Oruc Reis will be stationed in the area. 15 Turkish warships also went there. For this reason, the Greek armed forces were put on alert throughout the country.
Kastelorizo is the most remote island in Greece, more than 10 kilometers from the nearest Greek coast, and only two kilometers from Turkey. Panayotopoulos had a telephone conversation with Esper on the afternoon of July 21, scheduled after the postponement of his visit to Washington, the report said.
“The minister first briefed his American counterpart on current developments in the area south and east of Kastelorizo, where Turkey announced its intention to conduct research in an area that includes the Greek continental shelf. Panayotopoulos presented the situation with the movement of warships in the region and stressed, that our country is determined to defend its sovereign rights when necessary. ” – said the ministry.
In addition to exchanging views on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, new perspectives and opportunities created by the signing of the Protocol on Amendments to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) to further deepen their strategic cooperation in the defense and defense sector were discussed.
“In particular, the importance of bilateral cooperation for security and stability in the wider region was confirmed, the contribution of Greece as a strong ally to NATO and a pillar of stability in the region was recognized,” the Defense Ministry said.
The ministers also discussed weapons programs, while emphasizing the desire to further develop mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of defense and technology. “The Minister of National Defense referred to the initiatives of Greece to develop trilateral schemes of regional defense cooperation with the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean in order to ensure the security, stability and prosperity of the countries of the region,” the statement said. Greece participates in trilateral agreements with Cyprus and Israel, Cyprus and Egypt.