The German foreign minister Tuesday called for direct dialogue between Turkey and Greece, ahead of his visit to the two countries.

Disputes surrounding the gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean can only be solved through dialogue and on the basis of international law, said Heiko Maas.

“The tension is not just affecting the relationship between EU and Turkey. A further escalation can damage all sides,” he added.

Maas said the windows for dialogue should not be closed but further opened between Turkey and Greece. “To achieve this, we need steps toward easing of tensions and to initiate direct discussions instead of new provocations. We want to support this as much as we can,” he added.

Maas’ visit to Ankara and Athens comes ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers later this week, in which the latest tensions in the eastern Mediterranean will be discussed.

After meeting with Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Maas will head to Ankara to meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak

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