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Politics

Mitsotakis’ Security Adviser Quits Over Turkish Ship in Greek Seas Flap

ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ National Security Adviser, Alexandros Diakopoulos, has resigned after he said the Turkish energy ship the Oruc Reis had entered Greek waters although the government denied that.

“My statement … caused confusion and created a problem for the prime minister and the government, which is something that was never my intention,” he said in a statement. 

“I have served my country for decades and I have always learned to take on my responsibilities. I therefore resign from the post of the prime minister's national security adviser. I will continue to help the country and the government in any way I can, as I have done so far,” he added, said Kathimerini.

The resignation was accepted despite Diakopoulos' critical role in foreign policy for which he was lauded by US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who said Diakopouls had an “essential role” in boosting relations with the US. “An impressive and deeply honorable officer who played an essential role in strengthening the US-Greece strategic relationship. Fair winds and following seas Admiral Diakopoulos,” he tweeted.

Turkey sent the energy research vessel, accompanied by 10 warships, off the island of Kastellorizo where Turkey plans to drill for oil and gas, Mitsotakis sending Greek warships to shadow them. 

With a tense standoff going on, Diakopoulos earlier appeared on Open TV and, asked whether the Oruc Reis had done any surveying in Greek waters – Mitsotakis vowed a response if so – said, “Yes, but the issue is more complicated. It has conducted (seismic) survey, let’s not kid ourselves.”

He added, 'But its whole movement shows that this was not its intention, it was not the real reason of the survey,” in the game of brinksmanship in the East Mediterranean stalemate.

He later retracted the comment, which contradicted the official government line, saying that he meant that the ship “tried” to conduct seismic survey in Greek waters but did not go through with it.

“I would like to clarify that my reference was about an ‘attempt’ to [conduct seismic] survey – based also on Turkish claims – but not conducting one, with the obvious aim of displaying a flag in the area of the illegal Turkish NAVTEX,” he said in a press release, referring to Turkey reserving the seas there.

“I also clarified that it tried to conduct a [seismic] survey and stopped, since Turkey's real goal from the beginning was not to carry out seismic research,” he said without clarifying what that meant or why the ship was there then. 

“In the first few days it did not do any surveying. When we brought up the issue in the media that it (the ship] is not surveying, it (the ship) exited (Greek waters) a bit, it spread the cables, it came back, did some surveying. At some point the weather picked up and it stopped the survey … Beyond that…since it (the ship) entered and surveyed, even for half an hour, it has disputed [territorial sovereignty,” he added, the confusion too much for the government to accept.

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