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Turkey doubles down in eastern Mediterranean after Egypt-Greece deal

The flashpoint of the power struggle in the eastern Mediterranean could shift from Libya to the seas in the coming weeks as Turkey begins new seismic research in response to an Egyptian-Greek maritime demarcation deal.
This picture taken on August 23, 2019 in Istanbul shows a view of Turkish General Directorate of Mineral research and Exploration's (MTA) Oruc Reis seismic research vessel docked at Haydarpasa port, which searches for hydrocarbon, oil, natural gas and coal reserves at sea. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Military escalation appears inevitable in the eastern Mediterranean after Turkey announced new seismic research activity Aug. 10 in contested areas overlapping with a maritime zone that its arch foes Egypt and Greece agreed on last week.

Ankara issued a navigational notice — known as Navtex — that the mission of the Oruc Reis research ship, accompanied by two logistical vessels, will continue in the eastern Mediterranean until Aug. 23, the Anadolu news agency reported. Turkish military ships are likely escorting the mission. In the past, such escorts have been comprised of two or three frigates, two or three gunboats and a couple of submarines.

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