On Tuesday, Turkey announced that it had reserved an area in the Eastern Mediterranean where it would deploy Oruç Reis, a research/survey vessel to conduct underwater seismic surveys for natural gas or oil.
At the same time, 18 Turkish warships left their anchorage and sailed near the area, where they still remain. Turkey reserved that area via an illegal — it was not issued by the station responsible for that area — Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) for 13 days (7/21-8/2).
The area in question, however, is predominately within Greek maritime jurisdiction and about 1/3 of the area is within the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). As a result, the Greek military has been placed on high alert, as Greece and Turkey are once more locked in an intense diplomatic and geopolitical back and forth that might very well lead to a localized incident or even general war.
Why did Turkey choose that particular area?
There is a high likelihood that the area reserved by the Turkish NAVTEX contains significant natural resources of natural gas and oil. Large reserves have already been found within the neighboring Cypriot EEZ.