US State Dept’s Reeker urges Turkey to end acts that raise tension in East Mediterranean

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The United States State Department urges Turkey to stop actions that escalate tension in the East Mediterranean, Philip Reeker, principal deputy assistant secretary of State at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said on Thursday.

Responding to a question by online news outlet Hellas Journal, Reeker noted that the United States was “deeply concerned” about Turkey’s surveys in the maritime zone included in a Navtex it issued this week SE of Kastelorizo, blocking the area for seismic research until August 2.

The United States “is deeply concerned about Turkey’s stated plans to survey for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said in statements also posted on Twitter. “We are concerned about actions that are provocative and raise tensions in the region,” he added.

Noting that Greece, Turkey and the US are NATO partners, he called for a spirit of collaboration in what he called “a complex strategic” region.

“This is a complex strategic space,” Reeker said, adding that “I will repeat the message we have given before from Washington, as well as elsewhere in Europe, urging Turkish authorities to hold operations that raise tensions.” As he stressed, “We will continue to raise this message.”

The US is maintaining close contact with its embassies in Athens and Ankara, observing developments closely, he noted.

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