Erdogan: Dialogue only solution in eastern Mediterranean

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2020

The Oruc Reis vessel started work on Monday accompanied by Turkish warships.

A French ministry of armed forces statement issued today confirmed the combined exercise involving Mistral-class LHD Tonnerre and the frigate La Fayette (first ship in class). In addition, Two French Air Force Rafale fighters stopped in Souda, Greece, on their way back from a scheduled deployment to Cyprus.

"We brief friendly countries and public opinion, and we mobilize allies and partners", he said, pointing also to the immediate acceptance of a Greek request for an extraordinary meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Turkish behaviour in the East Mediterranean which "confirms that the issue is not just about Greek-Turkish relations, but about European relations with Turkey".

The exercise included advanced maneuvers, combined mission planning, exchange of tactical information, communications as well as aircraft cooperation.

'The goal of this military presence is to strengthen the autonomous assessment of the situation and to affirm France's commitment to free movement, to the security of maritime navigation in the Mediterranean and respect for worldwide law, ' said a ministry statement.

Mr Dendias on Tuesday urged Turkey to "immediately leave the Greek continental shelf", saying the country was determined to defend its sovereign rights.

"The path to a solution in the eastern Mediterranean is via dialogue and negotiation".

Greece called on Turkey to remove its ships from the area, but Turkey refused, AP reported.

In a televised address on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece of exacerbating tensions by taking some "wrong" steps.

"If we act with common sense and reason, we can find a win-win solution that meets everyone's interests".

"We are not chasing any unnecessary adventures or seeking tensions", Erdogan emphasised.

Turkey will continue to protect Ankara's rights against attempts to sideline it, the president added.

While there's no confirmed time yet for the proposed talks, Ankara has been maneuvering diplomatically to fortify itself against possible sanctions.

An extraordinary European Union foreign ministers' meeting has been set for Friday at 1300 GMT, and will be held via teleconference.

The main point of disagreement between Athens and Ankara stems from the islands belonging to Greece in the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean.

"It is baseless to claim Meis (Kastellorizo) Island, with a surface area of 10 sq km, has 40,000 sq km maritime jurisdiction zone", Erdogan said on the Greek claim to the waters. However, the island is just 2km from Turkey's Antalya, while the Greek mainland is more than 500km away.

Other reports by iNewsToday