The EU continues relentless efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece over gas and oil exploration. On Sunday, September 7, in the afternoon, the President of the European Council Charles Michel had a telephone conversation with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the mounting tensions in the region.
According to an EU official, Michel stressed the importance of de-escalation the conflict, and called on Turkey to refrain from activities that fuel the tensions. He pointed out that the EU is in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, adding that the EU wishes to have a constructive relationship with Turkey.
Further, EU Council President called September European Council meeting, which will discuss the situation in the Mediterranean and the whole scope of EU’s relations with Turkey. In that respect all measures, called “sticks and carrots” will be considered.
Michel has also called for multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean in a view to find peaceful and negotiated solutions, with a clear goal to listen and call for “dialogue as the only way to resolve current disputes”. Michel will remain in contact with all parties.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in an increasingly belligerent dispute over gas and oil in the region since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month.
They will understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military strength to tear up immoral maps and documents,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, referring to contested areas claimed by Greece and Cyprus as their exclusive economic zones.
The EU strategy to establish dialogue between opponent so far remains unchanged, and is perceived with tenacity from the beginning of the argument between Greece, Cyprus, and the EU candidate country – Turkey.