Greece’s announcement this month that will designate an undersea marine park in the Aegean Sea – part of an increasing focus on environmental issues – drew another Turkish reaction on Wednesday, with ruling AKP party spokesman Omer Celik echoing similar annoyance by the foreign ministry in Ankara over the Greek initiative.

Speaking at a party event, Celik said the development “sabotages” efforts at rapprochement between the two countries.

“… I want to share with you another issue, as you know, recently there was a process of normalization between us and Greece, and after a visit by our president (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) to Greece this process was proceeding with a very good momentum. However, as these normalization efforts were proceeding nicely, there was a disturbing step on April 16-17 by Greece, which while organizing a conference on oceans (the Our Ocean conference this week in Athens) came close to declaring two areas as marine parks in Aegean and Ionian Seas. We consider that the declaration of marine parks is undoubtedly a situation that, on the one hand sabotages this normalization process, and on the other, exploits environmental sensitivity through a unilateral hastening.”

The respective Greek foreign ministry has previously issued a stern rebuke to Ankara’s questioning of Greece’s right to designate undersea marine parks in the Aegean.