Turkey backs down over naval dispute with Greece

Turkey is pulling naval vessels out of an area of the East Mediterranean where it disputes Greek jurisdiction over oil-and-gas drilling rights, Greek authorities have reported.

Tensions in the long-standing dispute flared last week between the two NATO allies when Turkey announced it planned to send a research vessel south of the Greek islands of Rhodes, Karpathos, and Kastellorizo.

The initiative was publicly criticised by the United States, France, and other European countries, while the Turkish research vessel, the Oruc Reis, has remained anchored off the southeast Turkish port of Antalya.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday that Turkey was withdrawing navy vessels from the area, adding that Athens remained ready to enter negotiations with Turkey “within the framework of international law and good neighbourly relations”.

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