Greece slams Turkish decision to send out research ship

The Turkish Oruc Reis vessel would carry out activities in the region, including the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 October 2020

Greece slams Turkish decision to send out research ship

  • Move comes as Athens and Ankara are trying to set a date for talks to defuse the row
  • Turkey and Greece in dispute over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean

ATHENS: Greece on Monday condemned as a “direct threat to regional peace” Turkey’s decision to send back to the eastern Mediterranean the research ship at the center of tensions over energy rights.
The move which comes as Athens and Ankara are trying to set a date for talks to defuse the row between the two NATO neighbors.
The Turkish navy on Sunday said the Oruc Reis vessel would carry out activities in the region, including the south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, from Monday until October 22 in a message sent to the maritime alert system NAVTEX.
Greece’s foreign ministry said the move was a “direct threat to regional peace and security.”
Turkey was “unreliable” and “does not sincerely desire dialogue,” it said in a statement.
It added that Ankara was “the foremost factor of instability” in the region “from Libya to the Aegean and Cyprus, Syria, Iraq and now Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“I’m not looking for a fight, nobody should,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a Monday interview with Greek daily Ta Nea that was conducted before Turkey announced its move.
Turkey and Greece were locked in a row over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean in August, which saw the two countries stage rival air and navy drills in strategic waters between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.


Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

Updated 31 October 2020

Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

  • Rouhani announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days
  • Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down

Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of COVID-19, police said on Saturday.
President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days.
The official IRNA news agency said Tehran police had extended by one week the closure of businesses including beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs.
Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down, IRNA quoted police official Nader Moradi as saying.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions from next week in the 25 provinces and 89 counties will include include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.
Rouhani said in televised remarks that strict health protocols should be observed when holding weddings and funerals in those provinces and counties.
Iranian authorities have blamed a sharp increase in cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and Rouhani said an operations headquarters will be set up to ensure compliance with the health protocols.
Total COVID-19 deaths rose by 386 over the past 24 hours to reach 34,864, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Saturday, adding total cases rose by 7,820 to 612,772.