ANKARA

The EU encourages deepening of Turkey and Greece bilateral talks, EU Council President Charles Michel said after a two-day meeting with the bloc’s leaders.

Speaking at a news conference with EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, Michel said: “We want to give political dialogue a chance to move towards greater predictability, stability in our mutual interest.”

The EU wants to engage in a more positive agenda with Turkey provided that Turkey also engages in a more positive direction with the bloc, Michel added.

The EU leaders gathered Thursday in Brussels for a two-day summit to discuss the current situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and EU-Turkey relations as well as the sanctions on Belarus.

Eastern Mediterranean dispute

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in the region, and stressed that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Ankara has sent several drill ships in the past weeks to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its own rights in the region, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiation.

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