BRUSSELS / ATHENS
The latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean are “extremely worrying” and must be solved through dialogue, said a European Union spokesman Tuesday.
“What is needed to be done is to engage in solving all the open issues in line with principles of good neighborly relations, international law, and positive engagement,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told a news conference.
In response to Greece’s call for an extraordinary meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Stano said a decision will be made soon through consultations among the member states.
He added that Turkey’s actions will also be discussed at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Berlin later this month.
Greek call for extraordinary meeting
Greece decided to ask for an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting as announced Tuesday after a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Mitsotakis also briefed President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and the heads of the country’s other major political parties.
Alexis Tsipras, main opposition SYRIZA leader and former prime minister, called for an extraordinary EU summit to be convened to discuss recent developments.
Dendias also met with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at the Foreign Ministry building in Athens where the two discussed the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Dendias wrote on Twitter.
As part of the country’s hydrocarbon exploration activities, Turkey announced via Navtex the drillship MTA Oruc Reis’ new seismic research activity in the Eastern Mediterranean starting Aug. 10.
The Oruc Reis, along with the ships Ataman and Cengiz Han, will continue seismic activities in the Eastern Mediterranean through Aug. 23.
Last month, after Athens objected to Ankara’s seismic survey in an area south of the island of Meis, or Kastellorizo, German diplomatic efforts helped defuse tension between Turkey and Greece.
But, Greece’s controversial move last week to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt, which Turkey says violates its continental shelf and maritime rights, has sparked further tension between the two neighbors.
Ankara accuses Greece of pursuing maximalist policies in the Eastern Mediterranean, stressing that its maritime claims violate Turkey’s sovereign rights.
* With writing and contributions by Iclal Turan in Ankara
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