Jerusalem Post: Turks chase off Israeli research vessel

The Turkish Navy chased off an Israeli research ship near Cyprus two weeks ago, the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry confirmed on Saturday.

Bat Galim, a vessel belonging to the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, had researchers from Ben-Gurion University in the Negev aboard, as well as a Cypriot geologist, who were doing research approved by the Government of Cyprus in Cyprus’ territorial waters.

Turkey does not have jurisdiction over the area of the Mediterranean Sea in which the researchers were working, but its navy demanded that Bat Galim move further south, as first reported on Channel 13.

The incident took place several weeks after Turkey and Libya signed an agreement dividing up authority over the areas of the Mediterranean between their two countries, which ignores Cyprus’ and Greece’s economic rights in the sea, granting them to Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s top diplomat in Ankara earlier this week to inform him that Israel’s plan to lay down a natural gas pipeline to Europe in that part of the Mediterranean Sea, in cooperation with Greece and Cyprus, would require Turkey’s approval, Channel 13 reported.