Washington calls on Turkey to stop its “deliberate provocations” in the Mediterranean and calls on it to immediately start preliminary talks with Greece

The United States demanded on Tuesday Turkey to stop its “deliberate provocations” in the Mediterranean, as Ankara sent again a ship to explore gas, which could aggravate the crisis with Greece.

“We call on Turkey to stop this deliberate provocation and to start immediately preliminary talks with Greece,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

She added that “Turkey’s unilateral declaration fuels tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of important preliminary talks between our NATO allies Greece and Turkey”.

And it considered that “coercion, threats, intimidation and military activities will not solve tensions in the eastern Mediterranean”.

Turkey had sent an exploration ship to disputed waters, accompanied by warships, which raised concerns about Cyprus and Greece, which carried out military exercises.

Tensions subsided after Turkey withdrew the ship and agreed to hold preliminary talks with Greece.

However, the Turkish Navy said that the ship “Oruj Reis” would resume its activities in the region, angering Greece, which refused to hold talks before the ship was withdrawn.

Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Greece to show support and hailed the containment of tension.